Most households in Wisconsin have a pet, but few people think about what would happen to their animals if they suddenly passed away. Even though most people live far longer than dogs, cats and other domestic animals, planning for the future of a pet in case of the unexpected shows true compassion. By putting provisions for pets in a living trust, animals will get the care they need in both the short and the long-term.
Wisconsin residents may be able to use a series of documents that determine what happens to their property after they die. The documents can also be used to determine who cares for a minor child after a parent passes. Anyone who is 18 or older can benefit from having at least a will as part of their estate plans. A will can clarify who gets certain assets and why, which can prevent a costly court battle.
For some people in Wisconsin, using a trust can offer certain estate planning advantages. The estate owner will maintain a higher level of control over their assets and be able to dispense funds responsibly to beneficiaries. Trusts also make it easier to pass on significant amounts of money to minor children in a controlled manner. Because items handled through a trust do not go through the probate system, the allocation process is more private and protected.
People in Wisconsin can use an estate plan to help ensure that their financial strategy is sound. It can also help ensure that their preferences are honored when their assets are handed out to beneficiaries and can provide a sense of assurance that they have done what was necessary to see to it that their affairs are settled in the way they prefer. However, it is also important that an estate plan addresses how digital assets should be managed.
As the Internet becomes more of a part of everyday life for people in Wisconsin and the rest of the world, families have to think differently about how they plan for the future. Everything from online bank accounts to social media profiles make have significant value, and making sure these assets are passed down to the right people presents a lot of challenges.
Blended families in Wisconsin often have a number of complicated decisions to make over the years. In some cases, these complications arise when people come together with small children from previous relationships. In other cases, the issues can manifest when people with adult children who are already outside the home marry later in life, leading to a far more distant version of a blended family. One of the areas where issues can come up is estate planning, where it can be important for both parents to separate the interests of their children from the interests of their spouse.
In Wisconsin and across the United States, many people handle their estate planning via less expensive online legal services. Although drafting a will via a do-it-yourself website sounds like a good idea, this method can cause unexpected errors. For instance, the plan may contain typos or incorrect labels on the packages. Plus, some online estate plans may not include all of the essential documents. Even though online estate planning websites employ lawyers for legal advice, consumers cannot have personal consultations without paying exorbitant fees.
A Wisconsin resident who wishes to undergo the process of being cryogenically frozen at death might also be concerned about having access to funds on revival. A revival or future income trust can be created to allow this.
People in Wisconsin who have gotten ahead of the game and established trusts as part of their estate plans may sometimes have cause to regret it. Those who create an irrevocable dynasty trust, for example, when their children are young might later feel that they should have drafted the terms of the trust differently. The estate planning environment decades ago did not anticipate the specific social and economic changes that could operate to make trust terms counterproductive.
Adequate estate planning is something that all Wisconsin individuals should have in mind, particularly those who have acquired significant wealth in their lifetimes. Scandalous estate litigation cases commonly reported by tabloid publications invariably involve celebrities from the world of entertainment and professional sports, but art collectors can be easily added to this list even though gossip magazines do not usually focus on them.