Wills Trusts & Estate Planning - Avoiding Probate
No documents that you sign in your lifetime are as important as your will, trust and other estate planning documents. A careful plan and properly drafted documents will ensure an enforceable plan that will avoid future legal challenges, tax problems and unintended consequences.
Married people with young children should plan for each other and their children, if any. Blended families should eliminate the complications created by having a spouse that is not the natural parent of their children. Single persons need to ensure that their property is distributed to whomever they choose. The elderly need to consider the best manner to maintain their estate to provide for their care and for the next generation.
Federal tax law has increased exemptions so that fewer estates are subject to estate tax. However, the current tax climate is uncertain. The current tax law is effective through 2026, and no one is sure how the tax laws will change at that time. Also, families who believe they have a modest estate may not consider how their estates have grown, and what property the tax authorities consider. In addition to real estate and investments, federal and state tax laws consider life insurance, retirement assets and other property when determining a “taxable” estate.
Our firm employs a variety of tools to accomplish your estate planning goals. Your plan may be as straightforward as a simple will. It may be helpful to change ownership or beneficiaries on real estate, life insurance, investments or retirement assets, or prepare a marital property agreement. Use of revocable (living) trusts is useful to avoid probate.
A health care power of attorney and durable financial power of attorney are important for every person.
Regardless of your age or financial means, there is no better time than now to complete your estate plan. If you have a will or trust, it should be reviewed periodically and revised if your circumstances or wishes have changed. What was written years ago may not adequately address your current circumstances.
To learn more about our estate planning services, contact Attorney John D. Dobroski for a consultation. You will receive individual attention, careful planning, and a thoughtful approach.
Phone: (414) 276-1233
Your estate plan, if properly structured, will accomplish a number of important tasks, including:
- Reducing the cost of probate, or in many circumstances eliminating the need for probate.
- Determining to whom, when, and how your property will be managed and distributed.
- Providing your family with directions for funeral arrangements, payment of obligations and distribution of personal or treasured items.
- Designating a personal representative or trustee who will manage your estate in accordance with your intentions and distribute your property as you direct.
- Nominating a guardian for your minor children.
- Eliminating the need for probate in other states if you own property outside of this state.
- Reducing and sometimes eliminating estate taxes and reducing or deferring income taxes.
- Maintaining your estate in a trust to manage your property for your surviving spouse or children and protecting your property from creditors.
- Developing a succession plan for a family business.
- If you are incapacitated, providing direction to your family and your doctors as to your care, and your wishes concerning life-sustaining procedures, as well as designating a person to make medical and financial decisions for you if you cannot do so.
- Making gifts to charity.