Estate planning is something every person should consider.
Regardless of your net worth or your age, an effective estate plan developed with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney can protect you, your family and your assets throughout your life and after your passing.
When you meet with an estate planning attorney, the following documents will be discussed and it will be important for you to understand what they are and how they fit into the estate planning process.
Your will provides specific instructions for the distribution of your assets. The distributions can be for family members or other beneficiaries after your passing. Your estate planning attorney can help you detail your wishes exactly so there are no questions about your intent.
You will designate an Executor (your personal representative) to pay any remaining expenses and taxes, and oversee the distribution of your assets. And, if you have minor children, a will is the only a way to name a guardian for them.
After your death, your will must be filed in probate court. Probate is an orderly way to transfer your assets after you die. However, probate can be very expensive and time consuming. An estate planning attorney can discuss with you ways to avoid probate.
Durable Power Of Attorney In Beloit
The power of attorney legally identifies the person you have chosen to act on your behalf and is known as your agent (or attorney-in-fact). The latitude you give your agent can be very broad or very limited. Your agent will usually be able to do nearly anything with your assets including sell, invest and spend them.
Traditionally, the durable power of attorney ends upon will not activate until you become disabled. The durable power of attorney continues during incapacity as a financial management safety net. This document typically avoids the need to go to court to have a guardian appointed for your estate. A durable power of attorney terminates upon your death.
Health Care Power Of Attorney In Beloit
The durable power of attorney for health care authorizes someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. A durable power of attorney for health helps avoid conflicts within your family as well as potential court intervention if you are not able to make your health care decisions on your own.
Living Will In Beloit WI
Should you have a terminal health condition, a health care power of attorney conveys your intentions relative to using life-sustaining measures. Health care power of attorney can help avoid the need to go to court to have a guardian of your person appointed.
Revocable Living Trust In Beloit
A revocable living trust is a type of trust often used by an estate planning attorney. After assets are transferred into a revocable trust, continued management of your financial affairs is possible during your lifetime no matter what the situation. This includes when you are incapacitated, at your death and even for future generations. A revocable living trust allows assets to avoid probate, greatly reducing the chance personal information will become public record. A typical living trust is less expensive to create versus the cost of probate.
Every revocable living trust has three important people/positions involved. They are –
- The grantor (or settlor) — generally you — creates the trust and transfers assets to it.
- The beneficiary(ies) — often you and your family — receive the income and/or principal according to your trust’s terms.
- A trustee — often you, until such time you either resign, become incapacitated, or at your death. A successor trustee is named and is often a family member or a corporate trustee (i.e. bank) — manages the trust assets.
A revocable living trust’s provisions can be changed at any time during your life. Further, if you act as your own trustee, you continue to manage your investments and financial affairs. A revocable living trust can exist beyond your death and assets within the trust will not be subject to probate.
Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family because it organizes your assets, eliminates confusion, saves your estate money by avoiding probate and as a result maintains privacy.
A good first step in estate planning is creating a complete and detailed Net Worth Statement. The statement should list all of your assets, including –
- Taxable accounts
- Tax-deferred accounts (IRAs, annuities, retirement plans)
- Life insurance investments.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you create a personal Net Worth Statement containing all of the detail you will need
Having a complete Net Worth Statement will help an estate planning attorney provide more specific guidance and speed the estate planning process.
Monahan and Johnson S.C. in Beloit WI has an experienced an estate planning attorney ready to assist you in navigating the estate planning process.
Monahan and Johnson S.C. offers free initial meetings with an estate attorney to Beloit and Janesville WI area residents. You will meet one-on-one with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Call or email Tom Johnson today at 608-362-8086 for more insight about how to proceed with your estate planning in Beloit WI.