Estate Planning for Young Families
Why is it important to start estate planning now? Regardless of your wealth level, it's important to begin the process of estate planning soon. You may think, “I don’t have many assets” or “I just have a lot of debt”. This makes it even more important for you to have your finances figured out. Creating an estate plan shows love and compassion to those around you.
When to Update Your Will: Estate Planning Tips for All Stages of Life
Estate planning is an important task you need to take care of throughout your life. If you write your will at age 25 and never update it, your future finances and assets could be in trouble if anything happens to you. There are a few key points in life when you should create or update your estate plan.
Once your marriage certificate is signed, you should begin updating all your legal documents to reflect your married status. In many states, spouses are legally entitled to everything their spouse owns. Yet there are exceptions, so it is best to update your estate plan to include your new partner.
The state of Wisconsin does not recognize common law or de facto marriage. If you are in a committed relationship but not legally wed, your will and testament needs to include them to avoid potential confusion.
After Birth or Adoption of a Child
Similar to a new spouse, new children through birth or adoption should be added into your estate plan. Failure to acknowledge new children in your will can put their financial situation in jeopardy.
To protect your assets, your estate plan should also address any stepchildren and biological offspring from other relationships. If your name is not listed on a birth or adoption certificate, it can be difficult for your children to make a claim to your estate unless they are specifically named within your will.
Guardianship: For minor children, your will shall determine who will be their guardians or handle their inheritance anything happens to you. These guardians should be kept up-to-date, as an aging grandparent may no longer be a suitable guardian or a formerly single friend may now have a family of their own to care for.
After Children Reach the Age of Majority
Minor children will need a guardian to administer to any inheritance left to them. Leaving these guardians in the will after your children are no longer minors can complicate the inheritance process.
However, there are many parents who worry their adult children are not ready or capable handling a substantial inheritance. An established trust may help ensure they are taken care of until they are older and more responsible.
After an Inheritance or Major Financial Change
Starting a business, buying a home, and other major financial changes should also be regularly addressed in your estate planning. Your business partners should be aware of what happens to your share of a company if anything happens to you.
If you inherited money or won the lottery, now is the time to review your will. You may want to establish a trust to protect your finances for the future.
After a Divorce or Remarriage
Divorces can cause a lot of misunderstandings. Be sure your estate plan is clear on what, if anything, your former spouse is entitled to in the future.
Remarrying is another time to make an update to your will, especially if the original document only lists a “spouse” and not a name.
Retiring is going to have a major impact on your finances. It is best to go over your estate plan before you walk away from working life for good. You will want to be sure you will have enough to get by after you no longer have a steady income.
Retirement planning from Angermeier & Rogers is the first step to protecting your long term finances.
After a Death
You will want to update your will after a death for several reasons. You may have received an inheritance or assets from the deceased. If the deceased was named as a beneficiary in your will, you will want to remove them or clarify if their estate is the new beneficiary.
The Importance of Regular Estate Planning
Imagine this scenario: A married man updates his will after getting married. His estate plan leaves everything to his spouse. He divorces, remarries, and has two children but never updates his will. If anything happens to him, his former spouse is still listed as the main beneficiary of his assets while his current spouse and later children are legally entitled to nothing.
The above case could go to probate court, though this will cause a long legal battle for everyone involved. An up-to-date last will and testament will make it absolutely clear who is a rightful beneficiary.
Advantages of a Living Trust
- Avoiding probate
- Managing assets flexibly
- Taking advantage of tax laws
- Maintaining privacy
What do Wisconsin Estate Planning Attorneys Do?
Estate planning is the process of mapping out what will happen to your remaining estate when you pass away. It’s often used to eliminate uncertainties in probate administration and takes advantage tax breaks to maximize the value of the estate.
What is Probate?
The probate system is a way of changing ownership of property after death. Probate is the court process of proving the validity of a will. By using a Wisconsin estate planning attorney, you can avoid probate hearings regarding your remaining estate.