Will I Owe Estate Tax?
You may have read recently a great deal about the debate regarding estate tax making it appear as if avoiding estate tax is the most important reason why individuals and couples need to prioritize estate planning. However, this is simply not the case. In fact, with the current federal estate tax exemption of $10.68 million for married couples and $5.43 million for individuals, estate tax is not an issue for the majority of individuals who need to begin the estate planning process.
Top Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan
If avoiding estate tax is not a priority for you in the estate planning process, one or more of the following common reasons for estate planning probably apply in your case.
- Provide for your family – If you become incapacitated before your death and upon your death, you want to ensure that your loved ones have the financial stability the need.
- Control your probate estate – If you fail to sign a will prior to your death, the state of Wisconsin will have control over your probate estate. Wisconsin’s intestate laws will determine who receives your property and how your property is divided among your legal heirs.
- Provide for minor children – Estate planning is an excellent way to provide for minor children after your death through your will or trust agreements.
- Transfer assets quicker – With a will, your probate estate will move much faster than an intestate estate. In some cases, you may be able to utilize a trust to avoid the estate process completely to transfer assets after death.
- Business succession plan – If you own or operate a family business, estate planning is an essential element of your business succession plan.
- Provide for the care of a pet – Without a will, you will have no choice in how your pet is cared for after your death. Through your will, you can direct for the care of your pet and provide financial support your pet’s continued care.
- Avoid probate litigation – If your wishes are unknown, your heirs may disagree on who knows you best enough to determine what you would want to happen after your death. By setting forth your wishes in writing, you may be able to avoid family arguments and probate litigation after your death.
- Provide for incapacity – Estate planning tools are also used to provide for your family in the event you are incapacitated by appointing a trusted person to handle your finances. You can also direct the medical care to be provided or not to be provided by name an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
- Support a charity – Through your estate, you can bequeath property or money to a charity.
- Blended families – With the number of blended families growing each year, having an estate plan is very important for protecting children from a previous marriage and ensuring that your wishes are carried out with regard to your property.
- Providing for children with special needs – If you child has special needs, you want to ensure that your child is cared for if you become incapacitated or upon your death. Several estate planning tools provide you with this option.
Do You Have an Estate Plan?
The attorneys of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters pertaining to these areas of law. We personalize our services to meet the needs of each client and our attorneys make house calls for our clients if they are unable to come to our office. Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a free consultation or use our online contact form.
Image credit: Emiliano Horcada