Over the years, we’ve discovered that many people make a BIG mistake, catapulting their assets and loved ones right into the probate court system. Most of our clients want to avoid probate court because it has a reputation for being expensive, time consuming, stressful – and public, meaning anyone anywhere can see who got what and how to contact them. Beneficiaries may become victims to nosey neighbors, predators, and unscrupulous “charities.”
Q: What’s the one mistake that causes all these problems?
Estate planning is usually low on a person’s list of priorities until a life event occurs that forces the person to contemplate their own death. The most common life events that cause someone to begin to think about estate planning is getting married, having children, amassing a large asset or amount of money, or the death of a parent, relative, or close friend.
One question about estate planning that our attorneys are asked quite often is, “Why do I need a Will if I do not have children?” Our answer, “Because everyone needs a Will and a comprehensive estate plan regardless of whether they have children, are single or married, or have a little or a lot.” Failing to have a Will results in the state of Wisconsin deciding what happens to your property upon your death. Furthermore, failing to prepare for your incapacity prior to death may result in your healthcare wishes not being honored if you cannot speak for yourself.