The Estate Planning Process in Wisconsin

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Estate planning is not only for older adults or the very wealthy, as every adult in the United States can benefit from having an effective estate plan. Whether you need a simple or highly complex plan, creating one with the right legal help can protect you, your loved ones, and your property. Never wait to discuss your options with a Wisconsin estate planning lawyer.

Assessing Your Estate Planning Needs

A skilled attorney will review your circumstances and assess your estate planning needs. This can include:

  • Identifying your assets and liabilities
  • Determining your beneficiaries
  • Considering tax implications

You want a comprehensive estate plan that meets your goals and best suits your family and financial situation, and our attorneys can design this plan for you. 

Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning laws are complicated, and too many people end up with unenforceable or incomplete plans. Seeking help from the right lawyer is the best thing you can do. Search for a lawyer with extensive experience handling estate planning matters, who has strong communication skills, and who has compassion and empathy for your situation. 

Always ask about their experience with similar situations to yours, their general approach to estate planning, and their fees. You can use referrals, online directories, and other resources to find some attorneys to interview. 

Estate Planning Documents

Estate plans should be tailored to your situation, and they can involve many different documents. Your attorney can identify which documents are appropriate for your plan, which may include:

  • Last will and testament – This designates an executor of your estate and can make property distributions to beneficiaries, as well as name guardians for minor children. 
  • Living trust – This legal tool helps keep property out of the probate process and provides more control over distributions, among many other benefits. 
  • Power of attorney – This document protects you while you are living, as it designates individuals to handle your financial and personal affairs if you become incapacitated.
  • Living will – This outlines your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care if you cannot make informed decisions at the time.

Funding Your Estate Plan

Funding your estate plan involves transferring assets into the legal structures you’ve established, like trusts. This ensures they’re properly distributed according to your wishes. This process may include re-titling accounts, updating beneficiary designations, and making strategic financial decisions to align with your estate plan’s objectives.

Reviewing and Updating Your Estate Plan

Regularly review your estate plan after major life events like marriage, divorce, births, deaths, or significant financial changes. Additionally, it’s wise to revisit it every few years to ensure it aligns with your current wishes and legal requirements.

An up-to-date estate plan reflects your current intentions and protects against potential disputes or complications. Ensuring its accuracy guarantees that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, offering peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Consult with an estate planning attorney to make necessary changes. This may involve amending or creating new documents, revising beneficiary designations, and addressing tax implications.

Discuss All Your Options With A Skilled Wisconsin Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to learn more about a possible estate plan or need to review and update an existing plan, consult with our legal team at Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C. Contact us to discuss how a proper estate plan can benefit you and your family.