Wisconsin estate planning attorneysAs we head into tax season, taxpayers and business owners all over the country have started to gather up their financial data. Some are looking for a refund. Others are hoping to claim every possible exemption. Yet all have one thing in common: they should be reviewing their estate plans as well. What is an annual estate plan review, and how do you go about it? The following explains further.

Why Review Your Estate Plan?

A lot can happen in a year. Divorce. New children or grandchildren. A death in the family. Changes in your investments. Any one of these situations could constitute a change to your estate plan. Unfortunately, if you are not taking the time to go back and review your plan on a regular basis, you may very well forget to update it. This can create all sorts of issues, including a need for probate, overlooked heirs, and even the distribution of assets to an ex-spouse and/or their extended family. So make an estate plan review a part of your annual financial review process.

What to Look for in Your Estate Plan Review

First and foremost, your annual review should begin with a valid will. If you do not yet have one, then it is important that you speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer for assistance. Secondly, consider whether you are still comfortable with your current heirs or trustees. You should also review the current guardian(s) for any minor children. Is this person still living? Are they still interested? Are they still a viable choice? Or has someone else emerged as the better option. Lastly, talk to your estate planning lawyer about any major changes to tax and estate laws over the past year to ensure you are taking full advantage of tax exemptions, deductions, and other important estate planning strategies.

Contact Our Wisconsin Estate Planning Lawyers

If you need help creating or reviewing an estate plan for your family, contact the Law Office of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C. today. Dedicated and experienced, our Milwaukee estate planning lawyers will protect the interest of your heirs with thoughtful and creative estate planning strategies. Call 414-321-9733 and schedule your consultation with us to learn more.



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Milwaukee estate planning lawyersNational data indicates that about half of all Americans do not have a will or estate plan. Should any of them pass away before they have managed to create one, their loved ones could face numerous challenges. Do not leave your family stressed while mourning your passing. Make estate planning one of your New Year’s resolutions with help from the following tips.

Why Everyone Should Have an Estate Plan

People use all sorts of reasons to put off estate planning. Some are young and think they do not have a need. Others are middle class parents with few liquid assets. Still some simply cannot bring themselves to face the possibility of their death. Yet every single one of these groups should have an estate plan – if for no other reason than to ensure that their wishes are carried out, should they ever experience a tragic accident, sudden incapacitation, or unexpected death.

Preparing for Your Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan is a highly unique experience – one that requires you to examine your own situation, needs, and wishes carefully. However, there may also be some common considerations to make. For example, while each party will create their own estate plan, couples should attempt to work together during the process. Those who have young children should discuss and then decide upon potential guardians. Individuals who value quality of life over quantity will need to consider their health care proxy carefully to ensure the person they choose is able to adhere to their wishes. All should take a realistic look at their finances, assets, debts, family dynamics, and potential tax obligations prior to speaking with an attorney.

Why an Attorney is Critical in the Process

While the internet offers tools and simple plug-and-print forms for wills and certain estate planning forms, these options are often limited in their scope. They may not adhere to state laws, or they might fail to notify you of a serious but simple-to-fix issue. Further, there may be alternative options available to you that could save your family time, stress, and money upon your passing. In short, estate planning is not a “one size fits all” process. This is why an attorney is so crucial. Able to protect your rights, best interests, and family’s financial future, they can provide you with creative solutions to fir your needs.

Contact Our Milwaukee Estate Planning Lawyers

At the Law Offices of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C., we take a personalized approach to estate planning because we understand that your situation, needs, and concerns are unique. Learn more about how our Milwaukee estate planning lawyers can assist you with your estate planning needs. Call 414-321-9733 and schedule your initial consultation with us today.





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Wisconsin estate planning lawyersAgriculture is the backbone of our nation. Without it, everything we know and love would likely collapse. So how do you preserve the legacy of your family farm? How do you ensure that it succeeds to the next generation without falling victim to the numerous challenges? The task is not easy, but it can be done. The following explains further, and provides you with some key information on where to turn for help with your farm succession estate plan.

Succession Plans and Family Dynamics

One of the most common oversights in farm succession plans is how family dynamics will impact the future ownership and operations. As an example, if parents leave the farm to a child who does not have the knowledge, desire, or resources to take on the task, there could be issues on the horizon. Further, if siblings are unable to work together in a productive way, parents should take this into account. Above all else, be as realistic as possible about the limitations and strengths of each possible successor.

Your estate planning attorney should be sensitive to such issues, and they should ask you questions that go beyond the business aspect of your farm. They should emphasize the impact of family dynamics, and they should work to understand how yours may impact the future of your farm.

Planning an Inheritance that is Fair, Not Equal

As a parent, you are more likely to be emotional about your inheritance decisions. Unfortunately, this can lead to some problematic decisions. If, for example, you have a child that has no desire to help run the farm, has left and not contributed since leaving, and is unlikely to contribute after your death, the inheritance you leave behind should reflect that. It is not being cruel, nor is it failing to recognize the bond that you share with this child. Instead, by taking a fair, not equal approach, you are doing what you can to protect the future of your farm. You are taking into consideration the years of hard work that you and any remaining children have put into it.

Building a Succession Team

Because the transfer of a farm is often a multi-layered and complex process, it is critical to ensure that you have a good team on your side. This may include a family council to ensure that successors learn the family business, inside and out, but it should also include the assistance of a skilled estate planning lawyer. You may also need to seek assistance from other professionals, such as an accountant. Your attorney can guide you on determining who may bring the most benefit to your succession team.

Contact Our Milwaukee Estate Planning Attorneys

When the future of your family business is on the line, it is critical that you seek an attorney who is willing to put your interests first. Our Milwaukee, Wisconsin estate planning attorneys are prepared to do just that. Dedicated and experienced, we can help devise a creative succession plan to fit your needs. Schedule your consultation with the Law Office of Rollie R. Hanson, S.C. to learn more. Call us at 414-321-9733 today.




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