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Everyone needs a will in their estate plan

Many Wisconsin residents may think that they aren't wealthy enough to need a will. That is not true. Even the poorest person needs a will. Perhaps they only have a bank account or a beat-up old car, but these are things that need to be disposed of when a person dies.

Money in a bank account needs to be distributed; a car title needs to be changed. Someone needs to do these things, as well as handle distribution or disposal of other property. The executor is the person who does all this. A will allows the person to name who does these things. When there is no will, someone will have to ask the probate court to let them serve as executor.

Besides having a will, giving someone a durable power of attorney for financial and health care is also part of estate planning. Updating the will and powers of attorney is essential These documents shouldn't be put in a safe deposit box and forgotten. In particular, the will should be updated as circumstances change, such as a divorce, a death or the birth of a new child or grandchild.

A will can be simple or it can be complicated, particularly if a person has a lot of assets. A will helps ensure the property goes to the heirs the testator. Most people may not feel comfortable with a do-it-yourself will kit, and they are not recommended, as a will is not a one-size-fits-all document. An estate planning attorney can help to ensure that the will conforms with state law and accurately represents the client's wishes.

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