Estate Planning

Your estate plan is unique to you.  We work closely with you and your financial advisors to create a comprehensive estate plan that best suits your needs.  We offer a free initial consultation wherein we seek to learn about you, your family, your assets, and your goals, and wherein we explain various estate planning options to fulfill those goals.  We seek to ensure that our clients leave our offices with a good understanding of the concepts that we discuss.  Our clients often tell us at the end of the meeting, “We feel better already”.  When we hear that, we know we have done our jobs.  Our estate planning services include the preparation of:

  • Last Will and Testament – A Last Will and Testament sets forth a plan of distribution of your assets, and appoints a Personal Representative to carry out your plan through the probate court.  This is also where you nominate a guardian for the benefit of minor children. 
  • Trusts – Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Cottage Trusts
    • Revocable Trusts – Revocable trusts generally avoid the need to probate an estate through the court system, meaning they are private and are typically cheaper and quicker to administer.  Revocable trusts can provide excellent protection for your children and grandchildren by ensuring they are old enough to properly manage their inheritance, and by shielding your children’s or grandchildren’s inheritance from their creditors and spouses.
    • Irrevocable Trusts – Irrevocable trusts cannot be modified, and are typically drafted to produce tax or asset protection results.
    • Special Needs Trusts – Planning for disabled children is incredibly important.  Special needs trusts ensure that your assets are available to help your children without disqualifying them from governmental benefits. 
    • Cottage Trusts and Cottage LLCs – Many families have cottages where they are able to get away and bond with their family.  Cottages are more than an asset; they are a place where families look fondly back at memories of their childhood and the past.  As you get older, you want to ensure that the family cottage stays in your family for future generations.  There are numerous considerations in doing so.   A Cottage Trust or Cottage LLC determines ownership shares of the cottage, provides for splitting of expenses such as taxes, insurance and maintenance, sets forth how multiple families can fairly split periods of use, keeps the cottage in the family if a family member gets divorced, and plans for if a family member wants or needs to get out of the ownership. 
  • Marital Property Agreements – Wisconsin is one of nine states that employs rules of marital or community property.  A marital property agreement is a valuable tool to structure and change the classification of your assets.  They can be used to “opt-in” to marital property rules, “opt-out” of marital property rules, and to classify certain assets as the individual property of one spouse.  Marital property agreements often include provisions for the nontestamentary disposition of assets, avoiding the need for probate.  A marital property agreement is an essential component of a comprehensive estate plan.
  • Durable Power of Attorneys – A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf to handle financial matters during your lifetime when you cannot do so yourself. 
  • Health Care Power of Attorneys – A Health Care Power of Attorney authorizes a person you designate to make important heath care decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated and no longer capable of doing so yourself.   These decisions include whether to allow your agent to withhold or remove a feeding tube, and whether to allow your agent to withhold or terminate life sustaining procedures if you are in a persistent vegetative state, or if death is imminent.
  • Cohabitation Agreements – Ownership of real estate between unmarried individuals creates unique circumstances that should be thought out in advance.  Cohabitation Agreements are a great way to set out the ownership structure, payment of expenses, and to plan for what happens in the event one party passes away.


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