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Estate planning basics

Many people in Wisconsin are aware of the importance of estate planning. However, they tend to stop after creating a will. While a will is often a good start to a comprehensive estate plan, it is often not enough to address the personal, financial and family considerations that come up at the end of a person's life.

When a person drafts a will, they are issuing a legal document that describes what they want to happen to their assets after they die. However, most people have other estate planning considerations that are not covered by a will. For example, when a person begins a pension plan or purchases an insurance policy, they will specify who their beneficiaries are. As with a will, there will be situations in which changes to beneficiaries will need to be made.

Another significant consideration is that of end-of-life planning. Many people have strong feelings about the types of medical care they will receive If they become incapacitated and are unable to communicate with doctors. By establishing a living will, advance directive and medical power of attorney, individuals will be able to have more control over their last days. This can be particularly important if there is family tension, particularly due to sibling rivalry or a second marriage.

Individuals who are considering an estate plan may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's circumstances and make recommendations regarding the drafting of a will, appointing guardians for children and establishing trusts. In addition, the attorney may also be able to assist the client in ensuring that an estate plan is routinely updated to reflect the client's circumstances and family situation.

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