Articles Posted in Estate Planning

MP900442227-300x196“Our inherent nature to delay the inevitable, can lead the ones we care about into financial chaos. To avoid the chaos, careful preparation is needed when it comes to estate planning.”

Estate planning protects families, especially those with young children. It can eliminate stress, expense and unpleasant consequences that can last for generations. This is the message in an article titled “In the Works: Don’t Wait: Considerations in Estate Planningfrom Guidon. Continue reading

wear-your-heart-on-the-palm-of-your-hands-2-1314770-1280x960-300x225Wisconsinites are known for their charity and generosity. For many people, that charity does not end with their death. Indeed, it is common practice for individuals to make gifts to their favorite religious, charitable, cultural, and educational organizations as part of their estate planning.

The Orlando Sentinel recently reported on an unusual case involving a large charitable gift from the estate of a deceased farmer who lived in Brodhead, Wisconsin. The decedent inherited a substantial amount of his property from his own parents shortly before his own death in February 2015. In fact, at the time of his death the decedent reportedly owned land and property worth as much as $40 million, according to The Sentinel.

Under the terms of the decedent’s will, his entire estate would go to a teenage boy living in the Ukraine. The decedent believed the boy to be his biological child from a prior relationship, but the will required confirmation via a paternity test before the child could receive his inheritance. The child’s mother refused to allow such a test, which delayed administration of the estate until the child reached the age of 18 and could consent to the test for himself.

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crying-rose-1484179-1279x957-300x224Most of us do not want to think about our own funeral, but it is an issue we should all address as part of our overall estate planning process. Under Wisconsin law, you have the right to appoint a representative to “control the final disposition” of your remains. Normally this is the same person named to serve as executor of your estate, although it may be a different individual.

If you do not designate someone to handle your funeral, burial, or cremation arrangements, the law specifies an order of priority for who gets to make those decisions. The basic order is your spouse, your children, your parents, and your siblings. If there is more than one person in a given category–e.g., you have multiple children–then a majority will typically decide.

Parents’ Disagreement Over Son’s Funeral Leads to Contempt of Court Continue reading

residenceThere are many ways to own your assets. When you die, it is only natural that you want your family to share in the bounty of your hard work. As a way to simplify the transfer process and avoid probate, you may be tempted to add a child or other relative to the deed or bank account utilizing the ownership type of joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTwROS). However, while this type of ownership delivers a lot of potential benefits, it may also be masking some dangerous pitfalls.
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equipo-1251179-1278x825-300x194If you are young and do not currently have a lot of assets, you might think you can get by without an estate plan. The flaw in that reasoning is that you can never be sure how much your future estate will actually be worth. For example, even if you do not own much now, what if you die in a car accident caused by a drunk driver and your estate wins a multi-million dollar personal injury judgment? Who gets that money if you never bothered to make a will?

Milwaukee Parents Fight Over Litigation Proceeds of Son’s Estate Continue reading

laptop-user-1-1241192-300x225The Internet has made information more widely available than ever before. Online services also make it possible for many people to complete certain tasks and projects on their own–or at least, with a minimum of third-party assistance. Some companies have even gained popularity offering “do-it-yourself” legal services that purportedly allow you to make your own will or estate plan.

Is this really the best option for you and your family? While many people turn to DIY solutions because they think they are cheaper, estate planning is not the best place to look for discount providers who offer limited services. It is really not something you should try to do without professional assistance.

Keep this in mind: A will is not like a home renovation project. For example, let’s say you have a leaky faucet in your house. You might decide to try and fix it yourself, despite the fact you have no plumbing experience. In the worst-case scenario, you bust a pipe and need to call a plumber to deal with your flooded bathroom. If you make your own will and there is a problem with the document, odds are the mistake will not be discovered until after you are dead. At that point, the problem may not be fixable.

Here are some other things to consider before opting for a DIY estate planning service: Continue reading

retirement savings

money retirement

During your lifetime, your retirement account has asset protection, but as soon as you pass that account to a loved one, that protection evaporates. This means one lawsuit and POOF! Your lifelong, hard-earned savings could be gone.

Fortunately, there is an answer. A special trust called a “Standalone Retirement Trust” (SRT) can protect inherited assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors. We’ll show you what we mean.

When your spouse, child, or other loved one inherits your retirement account, their creditors have the power to seize it and take it as their own.

If you’re like most people, you’re thinking of protecting your retirement account? Here are 5 reasons we think you’re right. Continue reading

PR-300x225Many Wisconsin residents are appointed to serve as the personal representative for a family member’s estate without fully understanding the duties and responsibilities of the position. Handling an estate is not necessarily difficult, but it does require a certain attention to detail and the ability to meet specific legal deadlines.

The Basics of Administering a Wisconsin Estate Continue reading

Bitcoin-300x161Estate planning is only effective if it includes all of your assets. In most cases this is not a big deal. Major assets like your home have a deed that clearly establishes legal title. Other liquid assets such as a brokerage account are maintained by a trusted third party that must follow certain regulatory standards.

How Cryptocurrencies Work Continue reading

family-business-300x200Family-owned businesses are often the most complex type of asset to deal with in estate planning. There are multiple stakeholders to consider. On the one hand, you may want your family to continue enjoying the benefits of owning the business. But you may also want to make sure the business continues to run in a professional manner.

Asking a Fiduciary to Take on Multiple Roles can Lead to Conflicts Continue reading