Experienced Wausau Attorneys Assisting Wisconsin Residents with Will Preparation
At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we have decades of experience helping individuals in North Central Wisconsin prepare customized wills for their estate plans. If you are ready to speak with an attorney about preparing your will, contact us today.
While there are other estate planning tools available, a will remains one of the most important parts of any individual’s estate plan. Your will establishes how your property should be distributed after you die, and having a will helps avoid the confusion – and typically undesirable consequences – that result when a person dies without an estate plan in place.
At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., our estate planning attorneys work closely with our clients to develop comprehensive, carefully considered wills. We will help make sure that you cover all of the relevant issues, and we will provide advice so that you can make informed decisions about the terms to put in your will. In addition, we will explain the other estate planning options that are available, which can help minimize the burdens on your family and loved ones after you are gone.
Understanding Your Will
A will is a written document that expresses your final wishes. However, it is important to note that, unless you want it to be, your will is not set in stone. Wills can be modified (and even replaced) over time. As a result, it is never too soon to prepare a will – in fact, preparing a will now can help protect your assets and your loved ones in the event that something unexpected goes wrong.
In Wisconsin, wills serve three primary purposes. These are:
- Property Distribution – A will designates who will receive the property in your estate after you die.
- Childrearing – A will can also specify who will raise your minor children if neither parent is alive.
- Management of Your Final Affairs – Finally, a will designates an individual who will be responsible for administering your estate. This person is known in Wisconsin as a “personal representative.”
If you die without a will, any assets you own that are not covered by non-probate transfers will be distributed according to Wisconsin’s laws governing intestate succession. These laws are complicated and somewhat arcane, and rarely do they align with how an individual would want his or her assets to be distributed after death.
Putting Together the Pieces of Your Estate Plan
In many cases, a person’s will is just a piece of a broader estate plan. A major reason for this is that wills are subject to the process known as probate, while other estate planning tools are not. Probate can sometimes take a year or more, and during this time, your heirs will not have access to the property in your estate.
As a result, many people choose to plan their estates to avoid probate as much as possible. However, even if you have trusts, beneficiary designations, and payable-on-death and transfer-on-death designations in place, it is still possible that, over time, you will acquire property that falls into the realm of probate. To make sure that these assets end up in the right hands, it is important to have an up-to-date will in your estate plan.
Should My Spouse and I Prepare a Joint Will?
If you are married and planning your estate, you may be thinking about a “joint will.” While this may seem like an easy, cost-effective solution, (i) joint wills have several limitations, and (ii) they are not recognized under Wisconsin law.
When it comes to estate planning, married couples have several options for ensuring that the surviving spouse will have access to the money and other property that he or she needs during his or her lifetime. Married couples can also plan for distribution of their assets once both spouses have passed. Our estate planning attorneys can walk you through your options, and help you and your spouse prepare wills that achieve your goals.
Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. About Your Will
Regardless of your personal circumstances, it is important to have a will in place. At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we can help you prepare a will that protects your estate and provides clarity for your loved ones after you are gone. We can also make sure that your will works with the rest of your estate plan, and if you need to make changes, we can prepare a codicil or revised will that reflects your new wishes.
To get started with your will, request a consultation online or call our Wausau, WI law offices at (715) 842-2291 today.