In Wisconsin, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you really want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in Wisconsin may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Additionally, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Wisconsin
Estate plans in Wisconsin almost always have these features:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many problems that can come up in the drafting of a will. However, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Therefore, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a brilliant attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is an arrangement that gives another person the power to make certain decisions, normally related to finances and medical care, on your behalf, if you become incapacitated or disabled, and thus unable to make or express your own decisions. You can choose who you give this power to. For obvious reasons, it should be somebody you trust.
Funeral Arrangements: This is a very personal judgment, and you should discuss it, in detail, with your friends or family members who are in a position to implement your wishes. Your funeral instructions should not be included simply in your will, since wills are sometimes not read until days or weeks after the testator's death. By that time, it may be too late to implement the decedent's wishes with respect to funeral arrangements.
Do I Need a Wisconsin Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is very important (if you care about what happens to your family after your death), and can involve some pretty hard decisions. It should be clear, then, that a brilliant Wisconsin estate planning attorney will likely be worth the cost, because they can give your wishes the best possible chance of taking effect.
Interesting Facts About Wisconsin
Wisconsin claims most of the nation's milk and dairy production, most notably its cheese production. Wisconsin residents often embrace the state's nickname of "America's Dairyland" by wearing foam "cheese hats" at Green Bay Packer games and other sporting events. Interestingly, the iconic cheese hats are legally considered to be a hat. Wisconsin is also known for its output in manufacturing and consumer goods.
In its early days, the Wisconsin state legislature created several ground-breaking laws and government procedures. For example the state was the first to implement a statewide primary election procedure, and the first to establish workplace injury compensation laws. Wisconsin also had the first state income tax system based on actual earnings proportions.
More modernly, Wisconsin's law-making legislature has made legislative activity more transparent by providing information on the internet. Three major cities in Wisconsin provide residents with internet access to all public records in the city databases. The Wisconsin Supreme Court also operates a "Justice on Wheels" program, where it travels to different parts of the state to hear cases. This program helps to educate the Wisconsin population on the inner workings of the state's legal system.
Lawyers in Wisconsin handle many different types of legal claims in various fields. Wisconsin lawyers perform such tasks as representing clients in lawsuits, editing legal documents, and issuing legal advice. Many Wisconsin attorneys are experts in specialized legal fields.