Families in Wisconsin are complicated. In some cases, certain circumstances could prompt someone to disinherit a family member, such as ongoing disputes among siblings. Many people are surprised to learn that certain family members, even if not included as beneficiaries of a will, are entitled to be notified of the probate process. Fortunately, there are some estate planning techniques that can help in a situation in which a person wants to exclude a family member from benefiting from his or her estate without the individual later challenging the plan.
The importance of clear verbiage in a will or a trust cannot be overstated to residents in Wisconsin. Even the slightest opportunity for interpretation may provide fuel for a person's estate plan to be contested by heirs or potential heirs. An example of this can be seen in the case of a woman in New York who is currently embroiled in a battle to receive what she asserts should be her inheritance based on the relationship her mother had with another woman.
With divorce and remarriage far from usual these days, estate planning can bring up some issues that are not present for people in nuclear families with only one marriage for both spouses. Wisconsin residents who are planning to get married for the second time should make estate planning as much of a priority as wedding planning. This is especially important if one or both partners has children from their prior marriages.
If you are an older Wisconsin resident, you may be thinking about health care options for yourself and/or your partner. If you sustain an injury from an accident or end up with a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease, you may end up needing long-term care. Even if you never end up requiring this type of health care, planning for it may provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind.
Appreciating Richard Eisenberg's title, "Americans' Ostrich Approach To Estate Planning," Forbes,
Planning Ahead: What To Consider When You're Ready To Start Planning
Peterson, Berk & Cross attorney, Deb DeLeers, will be participating in the "Dancing with Our Stars" event for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. As part of her commitment, she'll be spending the next four months learning two ballroom dances which will be performed on February 15, 2014 at the KI Center in Green Bay. She will also be raising funds to support the mission of the American Red Cross in our community.