Estate Planning & Probate
Our estate planning lawyers are intimately familiar with the many different estate planning tools that are available in Wisconsin, and we can help you craft a customized estate plan that meets your needs. We also regularly represent personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other individuals in probate and trust administration.
Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys in Wausau, WI
If you have been thinking about preparing an estate plan, now is the time to get started. For your own benefit and for the sake of your family, it is best to be prepared for the unexpected. Beyond distributing your estate when you die (which is undoubtedly a critical component of the process), estate planning also involves making important decisions about personal representatives, medical care, and other matters that require careful planning and documentation.
In addition to assisting Wisconsin residents with their estate plans, at Crooks Law, we also provide legal representation in probate administration. There are various types of probate in Wisconsin, and whether you are an heir, beneficiary, or have been appointed as a personal representative, we can help you navigate the process and protect your rights.
Our Estate Planning and Probate Services
Our attorneys have decades of experience preparing estate plans and representing clients in probate administration. Click the links below to learn more about our services:
Trusts provide flexibility for planning your estate, and also allow you to keep assets out of probate. Trusts have a number of other benefits as well, and today a “living trust” is a central component of many people’s estate plans. There are various types of trusts available for use in estate planning, and we can help you evaluate whether a living trust, special needs trust, or other type of irrevocable trust is right for you.
For most people, it is desirable to avoid probate as much as possible. Probate takes time (and money), and can often lead to disputes that can be avoided through other means. Trusts are important tools for avoiding probate, as are things like:
- Joint property ownership
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
- Transfer-on-death securities and real estate deeds
- Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts
When we meet with you about your estate plan, we will discuss your options for non-probate transfer planning. As part of the planning process, we will make sure that your accounts and property ownership records are consistent with the rest of your planning documents.
With a power of attorney, you can designate another person to make important decisions on your behalf, should you no longer be able to do so. Most people use powers of attorney for two primary purposes: (i) healthcare decision-making, and (ii) management of their financial affairs. Like trusts, powers of attorney offer a significant amount of flexibility, allowing you to be as general or specific as you prefer.
Even with thorough non-probate transfer planning, it is still important to have a will. There are a number of reasons why. For one, it is quite possible that you will acquire assets after you plan your estate that are not covered by your non-probate transfers. For another, your will can address a number of other matters (such as childrearing and designation of your personal representative) that are critical to your estate plan, as well. We can help you carefully consider all of the issues that you will want to cover in your will.
If a loved one left behind an estate that is subject to probate, we can assist you in all aspects of the probate administration process. We represent personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other families and interested parties in both informal and formal probate administration.
In addition to informal and formal probate, we regularly represent clients in all other types of Wisconsin probate, as well. This includes:
- Transfer by affidavit
- Ancillary administration
- Summary assignment
- Summary settlement
Transfer by affidavit, summary assignment, and summary settlement are simplified procedures that can be used to administer smaller estates. Ancillary administration is the procedure used to probate assets located in Wisconsin, when probate has been opened in another state. Learn more about using these other types of probate.
Contact an Attorney at Crooks Law About Your Estate Planning or Probate Needs
Whether you are at the beginning stages of estate planning or probate, you need to modify your estate plan, or you need to address an issue that has come up during the probate process, our attorneys can meet your needs. To learn more about how we can help, call our Wausau, WI law offices at (715) 842-2291 or request a consultation online today.