Wisconsin residents may believe that thorough estate planning is nothing more than creating and executing their estate plan documents. While this may constitute the bulk of estate planning work, it isn't the end of the planning process. For instance, it may be necessary to review beneficiary designations on financial accounts from time to time to ensure that they still meet a person's needs. It is also important that they are designated properly.
The designation paperwork is filed with whoever oversees the account. If this is not done, an individual or entity may not receive an asset intended for that person or entity. It is important to note that estate plans may need to be changed if circumstances change. For example, an adjustment to tax laws or a divorce may change how the plan needs to be structured for best results.
Details of an estate plan should be shared with family members prior to passing. Furthermore, a designated party should have access to all files or other necessary information related to an estate plan. Failure to disclose this information may result in family members or others not receiving some or all of their inheritance. Those who create a trust should ensure that it is properly funded and that it owns the assets placed inside of it. Not doing so may result in those assets going through probate.
When properly constructed, an estate plan can help with probate avoidance as well as achieve other goals. For instance, a power of attorney may help a person retain control over his or her finances or medical treatment. The use of a will or trust may enable an individual to determine where assets go instead of leaving that up to state law. An attorney may help during the estate planning process.