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.
Entrepreneurs in Wisconsin may draw an unexpected lesson from the passing of legendary musician Aretha Franklin. Reports on her death have noted that despite her $80 million estate and valuable music catalog, she died without a will or estate plan in place. Franklin is not alone in the pantheon of great musicians to pass away without a will. Prince died suddenly in 2016 at the age of 57, leaving behind a legendary catalog of music and a $300 million estate. Since he passed away without a will, his estate continues to be the subject of court proceedings and debates among his heirs.
People in Wisconsin who want to leave a portion of their estates to charity and the rest to loved ones should make sure to avoid making common mistakes. It is important to take into account the value of an account after tax.
When a Wisconsin resident creates a will, it generally allows them to name a guardian for a child. The same is generally true for parents in any other state in the country. However, if a parent passes away or becomes incapacitated suddenly, a child may need care right away. In some cases, a family member or other potential guardian can't get to the child for several hours.
Wisconsin residents and others who are 65 and older have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care. However, people who live alone may lack the support system needed to help provide that care. In most cases, individuals have a spouse or a child to take care of them after a medical emergency or another health issue. A person who has no immediate family available can benefit from cultivating a circle of friends or acquaintances.
Wisconsin residents who are concerned about how their estate will be managed after their death should be aware that a trust can be a critical part of an estate plan. Trusts can be used to hold and manage various types of assets.
Wisconsin residents who are going through a divorce may also want to think about how a separation could impact their estate plans. For example, one may have a health care proxy that appoints a spouse to make medical decisions in case of incapacity. This could be a bad idea after a divorce, especially when animosity exists between ex-spouses.
Parents in Wisconsin might hesitate to discuss financial matters with their children. Estate planners, however, warn that this communication failure might undermine parents' desire to build a legacy and transfer wealth. Heirs might be poorly prepared to manage new assets. Ideally, benefactors should inform their heirs about their plans as early as possible. They could explain their reasoning and goals for preserving wealth for the next generation.
Wisconsin music fans may recall the death of musician Prince in 2016 and the news that he had died without a will. Now almost two years since his death, Prince's heirs still have not received their inheritance. However, the government has been paid millions in taxes by the estate and is asking for more.
Estate planning is important for those who live in Wisconsin or anywhere else in the country. These days, it can also be a good idea to include digital assets in such a plan in addition to physical and more traditional assets, like a home or car. By including the passwords to social media accounts or other online properties, individuals can prevent their grieving families from having to find and gain access to them.