Milwaukee wills and trusts attorneysWhile you could probably jump online and create a will in just a matter of minutes, right from the comfort of your own home, it is important to know that not all succession plans are created equally. In fact, these simplified estate plans do not typically account for specific state laws or other unique circumstances, such as heirs that pass away shortly after you do. For these situations, a special plan is needed – a Titanic clause – and everyone should have one.

It Can Happen to You

Think of some of the biggest celebrities – Zsa Zsa Gabor’s son, whose son passed away a week after her and Carrie Fisher, who passed away just one day before her mother. Then consider the possibility that you and your beneficiary pass away at the same time in a devastating or catastrophic event. It can happen. It does happen, and far more often than most people realize, which is why it is best to be fully prepared.

What is a Titanic Clause?

Backup succession plans, which are sometimes referred to as Titanic clauses, account for unique circumstances that may lead to lengthy delays, probate problems, and a depletion of your estate. The most commonly used plans include survivorship deferrals, default beneficiaries, and simultaneous death clauses. Each one acts differently and is used for different circumstances.

Simultaneous death clauses are used to address when two parties with an intertwined estate pass away at the same time. They determine who should be considered as the “first departed,” and who is to be regarded as the second to pass. In some cases, this can mean the difference between assets going to an heir of your choosing, or an heir of your spouse’s choice.

Survivorship deferrals are used to deal with the death of heirs that occur shortly after yours. Essentially, they state that your heir must survive for a specific amount of time, or your estate will go to a contingent beneficiary. The purpose is not just to save your estate; it is to plan for the possibility that your heir may not have the time to prepare an estate plan of their own.

Complete Armageddon plans are used to address issues in which all your immediate successors have died before your estate is disbursed. It essentially places a mark in your plan that states at what point your assets go to a non-profit or favorite charity. The idea is that your estate will not go to a long-lost, distant relative whom you do not know and have never met.

Using Titanic Clauses in Your Estate Plan

Succession planning is far more complicated than online DIY options and fly-by-night will creation options can accommodate. As such, it is highly suggested that estate planners – particularly those with a high net worth – contact an experienced and dedicated professional. Not only can this ensure that state and federal laws are considered, but it also helps ensure you have considered all possible scenarios for your estate plan.

At the Law Offices of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C., we offer personalized and tailored services to suit your estate planning needs. Our Milwaukee estate planning attorneys look at the big picture and use creative approaches to help you take a proactive approach to common estate planning problems. Learn more about how we can assist you. Call 414-321-9733 and schedule your consultation today.


Posted in Estate Planning | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Illinois estate planning lawyersAlthough estate plans are generally thought of as personal documents for those with large estates, many other people would benefit from having one in place. Business owners are a prime example. Learn more about why every business owner should have an estate plan, and how you can work toward putting one in place to protect your investments.

Business Ownership Can Lead to Hefty Tax Bills

Taxes and companies usually go hand in hand. The death of the owner does not necessarily change this. In fact, even a small business can pull a hefty tax bill after its owner has passed away. The consequence of this is often a lengthy probate process and significant depletion of the estate. Heirs ultimately suffer from this, sometimes being forced to pay taxes as high as 55 percent on the business and property, and may even be compelled to sell the business to settle the debt.

Trusts, Transfers, and Buy-Sell Agreements

There are numerous ways that business owners can protect their businesses with effective estate planning, but some of the most commonly used include trusts, transfers, and buy-sell agreements. Trusts allow you to transfer the business before your death while you continue to run it, a buy-sell agreement can help your heirs avoid the mess of haggling with a partner about price, and transfers to children or other heirs who are partners in the business can reduce the risk of estate freezes. Each option is used for a unique situation, and certain aspects should be considered before implementing any one of these plans.

Getting Started with Your Estate Plan

Whether you have been running your own business for years or have only begun to think about opening your own business, the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer is crucial to the estate planning process. Not only are they able to ensure you understand how certain variables may impact your heirs and the future of your business, but they can also assist you in developing creative solutions to address or mitigate any of these considerations. In addition to working with you on the business-related aspects of your estate plan, an experienced lawyer can also assist with your personal estate. This holistic approach can help ensure your heirs reap the most benefits.

Contact Our Milwaukee Estate Planning Lawyers

At the Law Office of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C., we understand that each estate planning situation is different. It is why we offer clients personalized services to all our clients. Learn more about how our Milwaukee estate planning lawyers can assist with your estate planning needs. Call 414-321-9733 and schedule your consultation with us today.



Posted in Estate Planning | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Milwaukee estate planning lawyersVideotaped wills are not a new concept. In fact, they have been around since the early 1980s. You may have even seen one featured in a show or movie, probably used for dramatic effect. Maybe the owner of the fortune cut someone out of the will at the last minute or made conditions through which an heir might receive their fortune. Are they really legally binding, though? More importantly, should you use one for your estate plan? The following explores this interesting and unique option, and provides some details on how to execute it properly, should you decide this is the right execution method for you.

Video Wills and Your Family

One of the biggest reasons that individuals decide to read their will on video is because they want to give their family one last memory. For some, it is a way to heal broken bonds. For others, it is a way to comfort from beyond the grave. Whatever your reason, ensure your intentions are pure. No matter how angry or irritated you might be with a member of your family, no matter how distant the two of you might have become, they will still likely grieve losing you. So be sensitive and kind. It will be their last memory of you.

Video Wills and the Law

Though a video will may give your family comfort after your death, it may not be considered legally binding on its own. Instead, it is likely that you will still need a written document that has been kept in a safe place. Of course, the video could still be used as evidence to prove that you were of sound mind at the time of creating the will, should any of your family members contest the will’s validity. Still, it is important that you speak with your estate planning attorney to determine what (if any) legal value a video will may lend to your family.

Contact Our Milwaukee Estate Planning Attorneys

Regardless of what your wishes are, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney before drafting your will. This can ensure that local and federal laws are considered, that taxation issues are addressed, and that your plans are crafted using creative solutions to try and save your heirs both time and money. Most of all, the experience of a lawyer can help you avoid some of the most common estate planning pitfalls – some of which could significantly decrease the worth of your estate.

At the Law Office of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C., we understand just how important it is that your family and estate are protected once you are gone. We will strive to meet your needs and wishes to the best of our ability. Dedicated and experienced, our Milwaukee estate planning lawyers have your best interests in mind. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can assist you and your loved ones. Call 414-321-9733 today.


Posted in Estate Planning | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off