Milwaukee Estate Planning Attorney
Estate Planning and Administration in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties
It’s never too early to think about estate planning. An accident can change your life without warning. Without basic estate planning documents such as powers of attorney or a living will, your family will not have the legal authority to make medical or financial decisions for you while you are incapacitated. At any stage of life, estate planning allows you to protect your assets, care for your loved ones, and plan for incapacity. At our firm, Milwaukee estate planning lawyer Rollie R. Hanson provides comprehensive estate-planning services to families throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including West Allis, and the Greater Milwaukee area. Here are some examples of how your estate planning needs may change at different stages of life:
- People of all ages should have powers of attorney to give a trusted person the ability to make health care and financial decisions for them if they are disabled. The should also have a living will or health care directive to communicate their wishes concerning end-of-life care if they are in a coma and unable to communicate by themselves.
- Parents with minor children need a will or a trust to name a guardian for their children if they both should die. These documents can also direct how and when children will receive their inheritance.
- People who have accumulated assets such as a home and vacation property should consider placing those assets in a living trust (also known as a revocable trust) to save their beneficiaries the time and expense of a probate proceeding if they should die.
- Parents with a disabled child may wish to create a special needs trust to provide money for their child without making him or her ineligible for government benefits.
- The elderly can use Medicaid planning to prevent their life savings from being wiped out by nursing home expenses.
Being named as the personal representative or executor of someone’s estate is one of the highest compliments that any of us can receive. However, it is also a serious responsibility, one you would not want to undertake without legal advice. Our law firm can answer the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and more relating to your bankruptcy case:
What is probate? Probate is a court-supervised process with two goals: To pay all outstanding debts of the deceased, including any federal and state estate or income taxes. To transfer a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the will (or to legal heirs, if there is no will). The probate process protects the rights of creditors and beneficiaries of the estate. It ensures that if one property is transferred to heirs or beneficiaries it is free from any creditors’ claims and any liens for estate or income taxes.
What types of probate are available? Wisconsin offers informal probate and formal probate. If family members are in agreement about the terms of the will, then the informal probate process can be used. Informal probate usually takes from nine to 12 months, although it can take longer if real estate needs to be sold. Formal probate proceedings can take longer and generally require more hearings before the court.
Are all wills subject to probate? Probate is required whenever property in excess of $50,000 passes under the provisions of a last will and testament.
How much does probate cost? The probate process generally costs an amount equal to 3 percent to 5 percent of the assets of the estate. Such costs include lawyer fees, personal representative fees, bonding, publication and filing fees. If the will is contested, the costs may be much more.
Will an attorney be necessary to probate my estate? In a formal probate proceeding, it is necessary to have an attorney to represent the personal representative. In other types of probate, an attorney is not formally required. The staff of the county Register in Probate can help you obtain and prepare the correct forms. However, the Register cannot evaluate your will or offer legal advice. A probate lawyer can guide you through the process and help protect you from liability as the personal representative or executor.
Can I avoid probate? Yes. The most popular method of avoiding probate is by the use of a revocable living trust. By having your assets pass to your beneficiaries under a trust rather than a will, you can avoid a probate and save the costs of the proceeding.
To set up an appointment with a Milwaukee estate planning lawyer to discuss probate or estate administration with, call (414) 321-9733 or complete our simple contact form. We are conveniently located in The Summit Place on Washington Street in West Allis.