Most of us believe that a will is all we need to plan our estates, but there is so much more to it than that. Good estate planning in Eagle River, WI helps you avoid probate, save estate taxes, protect your assets and appoint someone to act in your best interests if you’re incapacitated. Your estate plan should include, at minimum, a will and a durable power of attorney. Trusts can also be useful in avoiding probate before and after your death, and medical directives permit someone else to make medical choices when you cannot do so.
Wills are legally binding statements detailing who receives your possessions after you die. If you pass away without a will, the state of Wisconsin decides how your property is distributed. Wills appoint an executor (legal representative) to ensure the fulfillment of your wishes. Having a will is important, especially if you have children, because it allows you to name their guardian. Wills only cover probate property; many property and ownership types fall outside of probate. If property is in trust, jointly owned, or has a named beneficiary, it is not covered by a will.
Trusts are legal arrangements where a person or an institution (trustee) holds the legal title to a property, on behalf of a beneficiary. A trust has beneficiaries for life, and another group of beneficiaries after the first group of people have died. There are many reasons to set up a trust, but most people do it to keep the case out of probate. If your living trust is revocable, any property within it passes directly to the named beneficiaries.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows a person of your choice to act in your stead if you are ever unable to make your own financial decisions. If you do not choose an “attorney in fact”, you cannot be represented except by a court-appointed guardian or conservator. Under such a relationship, your representative may have to get the court’s permission to take steps that would be immediately implementable under a durable power of attorney. For advice specific to your needs and your case, consult an estate planning lawyer today.