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What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation

At The Estate Planning Group, we call our first meeting a Family Life & Legacy Planning Session. At the end of this meeting, you can expect to be more financial organized than ever before and understand what would happen to you and your loved ones with your existing estate plan.  Contact our office today to learn why people consistently feel that a great weight has been lifted off their shoulders after attending one of our Life & Legacy Planning Sessions!

What happens if I die without any estate planning documents?

What happens if I die without any estate planning documents in place?  Take a listen as Attorney Kevin Davidson of The Estate Planning Group explains what dying without any plan in place (called dying “intestate”) will mean.

Does a will keep my family out of probate?

Although commonly thought, a will does not allow you to avoid the probate process.  Take a listen to this short video by Attorney Kevin Davidson of The Estate Planning Group on why a will does not allow you to avoid probate.

What does the probate process entail?

What are some of the reasons you may want to avoid the probate process?  Take a listen to this short video as Attorney Kevin Davidson of The Estate Planning Group discusses what to consider in probate.

What are some of the benefits of a Revocable Trust?

Take a listen to this video as Attorney Kevin Davidson from The Estate Planning Group describe some of the benefits of a revocable trust.

What is a Trust Protector?

A Trust Protector is someone who is not the trustee, nor are they the beneficiary. They can protect beneficiaries, especially younger children, who may attempt to receive money directly when it would not be in his/her best interest. They can also make changes to the trust without involving courts. If you’ve already created your plan with us and a Trust Protector was appointed, you may want to have your Trust Protector contact our office, so they know what their role will be. If you’re working on your plan, we can help you choose the best Trust Protector for your trust.

When Kids Turn 18
When your child turns 18, you lose all legal decision making power. At the very least, they should have a Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians (Living Will), and a HIPAA release. If you have kids aged 18-21, we will include these documents as part of a complete estate plan. If you are an existing client, we will include these documents as part of a paid restatement.
What are Powers of Attorney?

Check out this short video that was taken at a recent seminar, where Attorney Greg Vanevenhoven explains some of the details of what Powers of Attorney are and their importance to your estate plan.


Wills vs. Living Wills

Are you one of the many people who don’t know there’s a difference between “Wills” and “Living Wills”? If so, that’s ok.

A will is a tool that specifies who should receive your assets when you pass away.  In Wisconsin, a will is also sometimes more formally called a Last Will and Testament.  In either case, a will, in essence, tells the Probate Court how your assets should be distributed upon your passing.  A will can be amended or changed during your lifetime and has no authority until a person passes away.

A living will, in contrast to a will, is a document that only applies during your lifetime.  Upon passing away, a living will has no authority.  A living will is a place where each individual can specify their desired care and treatment options if they find themselves in specific end-of-life care situations.

Both of these tools, a will and a living will, are important for different reasons.  Both documents serve distinct and important roles:  a living will is a lifetime tool specifying end-of-life care desires, a will is a legal tool that applies after a person passes away and lays out who should receive your assets.  Contact our office for more detailed information on these legal tools and for more details on how to build a comprehensive estate plan!

What is Medicaid?

Take a listen to this short video by Attorney Greg Vanevenhoven with The Estate Planning Group to learn more about Medicaid and the related qualifications.

What if I am trying to qualify for Medicaid right now?

Take a listen as Attorney Greg Vanevenhoven with The Estate Planning Group discusses what you can do if you are looking at qualifying for Medicaid right away.

Should I consider a reverse mortgage on my home for estate planning purposes?
There are several factors to consider when considering whether a reverse mortgage is a viable option that deserves consideration.  Take a look at our recent blog post, which can be viewed here, for important factors to weigh prior to signing up for a reverse mortgage.
Co-Ownership of Property

There are many factors to consider in your planning when you own property with someone who is not your spouse. Stay tuned for an upcoming video on some factors to consider!

Talking to Your Parents About Their Estate Plan

There are several reasons you might want to talk to your parents about their Estate Plan. Here are some items to consider while having this conversation:

  • What should you talk about?  Discuss whether your parents have a will, a trust, or other estate planning tools in place and how they want to share their legacy.  Come prepared with specific questions.  Consider also plans they have for their income, retirement, investments, and health care.  For example, consider asking the following questions:  Should your parents have a trust or a will? Does the Power of Attorney cover what your parents want addressed? Does your parents estate plan lay out the process that beneficiaries should follow?

  • How do you start this difficult conversation?  Always make sure your parents feel in control of the conversation.  Do not forget that the conversation is about them and what they want done.  Listen carefully to understand how you can follow their desires.  If you have suggestions then offer them, but don’t expect that they’ll immediately accept them, if at all. It’s about people skills and open communication.

  • Should questions be raised about where the important documents will be kept?  After figuring out what your parents desire in their estate plan, make sure there is clear guidance on where the documents will be kept, whether that be a home safe, a safety deposit box, or somewhere else.  If you know where the documents are, it will greatly ease your job in the long-run and any potential for future conflict over that “long-lost will”

  • Why don’t we have this “talk” tomorrow?  Do not delay this conversation!  Discussing personal finances is often considered a taboo, but many barriers can be knocked down if you approach the conversation openly, lay out your goals, and check them off.  Moreover, once you know the goals and objectives of your parents, you can have peace of mind in knowing you are fulfilling their wishes and desires.

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