06 Oct 0
Estate planning is one of the best investments you will ever make. A few dollars spent will usually save thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars that would otherwise be lost to taxes, attorney fees, court costs of nursing homes. it does not need to be complicated in most instances and provides you with the great piece of mind. While meeting with you, we discuss your goals and concerns. You will be educated on various legal “tools” available to accomplish your goals and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Understand the Family Dynamics
The initial step in an estate matter is to understand your values, your family situation and what constitutes your estate. We provide a holistic look at all related matters and concerns including for example protecting assets from nursing home expenses, avoiding probate, protecting beneficiaries assets from outside parties such as divorces and lawsuits, minimizing or eliminating taxes, charitable giving, eliminating or minimizing any attorney fees both on front-end and at time of passing. The initial meeting is called our “discovery” process whereby we discover your values and goals and you discover what your options are and the advantages/disadvantages of each option.
Review Existing Estate Planning Documents
We review the existing estate documents to determine whether these are legally adequate to accomplish your goals. In addition, we examine other related issues, for example:
- Whether you are expecting to receive an inheritance?
- Are you concerned with protecting your assets if your spouse outlives you and remarries?
- Do you have long-term care insurance? If yes, we can examine the policy and see how it can be used to leverage protection of your assets and enhance care choices.
- Do you have a need for financial planning? Many clients who come to me either have never taken any professional advice or are disappointed with their current advisors. You might need help understanding the assets you have or organizing and merging them for the ease of management. You may be paying excessive hidden fees. You may also be concerned with not having enough income to last for the rest of your life. At Elder Law Center of Wisconsin, LLC we can refer you to an experienced certified financial planner. The financial planner can provide you advice/ asset management for a fee (not a commission -not trying to sell you something).
- Are your documents based on old law which has changed?
- Do your current documents authorize someone to protect your assets from nursing home or care costs? Most do not.
- Does your current plan offer you and your beneficiaries maximum opportunity to eliminate or avoid taxes?
- Do you have IRAs going directly to beneficiaries with no asset protection and no income tax minimization strategy?
- Do your assets go directly to beneficiaries (children for example) knowing that if that child later goes through a divorce half of it could go to the out-law (former in-law)?
Review the Client Assets
The next step is to review a complete list of your assets. By reviewing this information, I can determine whether you and/or your beneficiaries and/or your estate could be subject to estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and other taxes, both federal and state. We can then formulate a strategy to eliminate or reduce these taxes.
Implementing and Maintaining the Plan
During the implementation process, all documents are reviewed, explained and questions are answered. The plan is then put into place to provide you with piece of mind and assure your goals are met. If there are items you can handle yourself, we will instruct you how to do it to keep legal fees to a minimum. An effective plan keeps you in control for as long as you desire, minimizes fees and taxes, incorporates your values and keeps things as simple as possible while accomplishing your intended goals. It should also provide flexibility allowing you to make changes, as desired as you progress through life.