Estate Planning – Protecting Family and Property In Beloit WI
Estate planning is often one a topic people avoid. However, proper estate planning can reduce stress and duress for your family at the time of great loss as well as save them money.
An experienced Estate Lawyer can help you provide much needed direction for your family after a death by creating a will, developing appropriate trusts and organizing your assets to avoid probate court. This will in turn make managing of an estate after a death easier.
A Definition of Estate Planning
Estate planning is the collection of preparation tasks helping to manage an individual’s asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death. This includes the bequest of assets to heirs and settlement of estate taxes. Most estate plans are set up with the help of an estate planning attorney experienced in estate law. (another definition)
Some of the major tasks an Estate Lawyer will assist with include –
- Establishing a trust to avoid probate and assisting in the funding of that trust.
- Creating a will
- Limiting estate taxes
- Nominating a guardian for minor children
- Naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will
- Creating/updating beneficiaries on plans such as life insurance, IRAs and 401(k)s
- Setting up funeral arrangements
- Establishing annual gifting to reduce the taxable estate
- Setting up durable power of attorney (POA) to direct other assets and investments
- Creating health power of attorney documents to avoid things like feeding tubes and life support if that is the person’s wish.
Effective Estate Planning Avoids The Following
- Probate court involvement in the distribution of your estate – Probate is costly, time consuming, and becomes public record, including the will.
- Having your property given/directed to the wrong individuals – In an age of blended families, high divorce rates and other unique relationships, this feature of estate planning is extremely valuable.
- • The delay of probate – if your estate planning is not comprehensive enough, a probate court can take up to one year or more to process your estate.
- • Expense of probate court – there will be court costs assessed against your estate leaving less for those you intend to have portions of your assets. The cost will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. A proper Estate plan will eliminate the need for a Probate Court
- • The public record of probate – when your estate is distributed through Probate Court, it becomes public record as opposed to a private matter.
Estate Lawyer Assistance
As the number and size of assets increase, an experienced estate lawyer can be an even more important part of your estate planning. Experience by your estate lawyer will help you prepare for the quickest, least expensive and most private manner with which to have your wishes followed.
A complete estate plan includes naming an Executor or Trustee to execute specific instructions as to how to manage or distribute your estate.
In general, Wills, Trusts and POD, or Payment on Death Designations, accomplish the same thing, which is distributing assets. They are all tools one uses in estate planning.
Considering minor children is an important element of estate planning as well. Trusts will provide the following –
- Minor children having money/assets available through trustees
- A managed, thoughtful transfer of assets
Estate planning is an ongoing process. One common mistake to avoid after you have established a Trust, is not adding new properties or investment accounts etc.. Without purposefully adding new assets to the trust, you will defeat the purpose of creating the trust in the first place. If you do not take the step to make new accounts part of the Trust, they will have to go through probate court.
Estate Planning Made Easy
With no Will, laws of the State will prevail.
If you require assistance with Estate Planning, Monahan and Johnson can usually create what is required. The reality is estate planning will ease confusion, protect people you care for, save money and keep private affairs private.
If you want to learn more about Estate Planning, creating a Will, or Trusts in Beloit and Janesville WI, contact Estate Planning Attorney Tom Johnson at Monahan & Johnson at 608-362-8086 or send us an email, we’ll be happy to help you identify the right options for your circumstances.