Month: September 2018

Estate Planning Attorney Can Help Deal with Fighting Between Siblings

“The problem is that my parents want to designate me as their power of attorney, for both health care and financial decisions, since I live in their community. Unfortunately, my siblings feel slighted.”

The reader who posed this scenario is not alone in facing siblings who live far away but feel like they are not being included in their parent’s plans. For this family, one sibling lives 500 miles away and another lives 800 miles in the opposite direction. The one daughter who lives in the same community is the logical choice for power of attorney. What can be done? …

When the Kids Move Out: Words of Wisdom from One Who’s Been There

“There is no doubt that, for the most part, parents are much more involved with their children and their children’s more numerous activities, than parents were when we were kids.”

If this describes you and your kids, then you need to prepare yourself for the adjustments that happen when the last child leaves the house. It can be emotionally and financially challenging, according to the Daily Messenger in the article “John Ninfo: Some advice for empty nesters”

You Can Age in Place, but You Need to Plan to Stay in Your Home

Aging in place is what most people hope for as they enter their 60s and 70s.  However, to make it a reality, there is a need to plan, according to the article “BBB On Homes: Focus on several things when aging in place,” from LMTonline.com. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define aging in place, as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age, income or ability level.

Changes in health or finances don’t always allow this to happen. Here are four things to keep in mind, when considering whether you or a parent will be able to remain at home: …

Making Social Security Work with Your Retirement Accounts

“Most Americans enter retirement age with access to Social Security benefits. Many people also have Individual Retirement Accounts, including those that were funded by transferring money from workplace 401(k) plans.”

One trick to a successful retirement is to make your Social Security benefits coordinate optimally with your Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), says AZ Central in the article “Retirement planning: Connecting the dots between Social Security and IRAs.”

Not everyone takes a step back to think this way.  However, it is a smart thing to do. With proper planning, your retirement could lead to better results for your investments and a better decision on when to take Social Security benefits. …

Business Owner Without an Estate Plan? Better Start Planning!

As business owners start thinking about the most valuable asset that they own, they need to make some major decisions about their estate plan: do they want to pass the company to the next generation or sell it? In both cases, says Smart Business in the article “Questions for business owners to consider when estate planning,” starting the process of planning needs to begin early to ensure a smooth transition.

If the owner waits until illness or disability occurs to begin planning, chances are good that it will be too late. …

Business Owner Without an Estate Plan? Better Start Planning!

Business owners start thinking about the most valuable asset that they own, they need to make some major decisions about their estate plan: do they want to pass the company to the next generation or sell it? In both cases, says Smart Business in the article “Questions for business owners to consider when estate planning,” starting the process of planning needs to begin early to ensure a smooth transition.

If the owner waits until illness or disability occurs to begin planning, chances are good that it will be too late.

First, the business owner needs to determine, if the business should continue or if it should be cashed out. If the owner wants to see the next generation take over, the owner will need to take a candid look at how engaged various family members are in the business and if they can realistically manage and continue to operate it, without the founder at the helm.

If there are many family members—kids, in-laws, etc.—then roles need to be defined, so everyone knows their responsibilities.

If there are children who have no interest in being part of the business, then a decision needs to be made about how they will benefit fairly.

If one of the owners is not a family member, the owners need to discuss how that ownership is going to transfer, when one of them departs. You’ll need buy-sell agreements in place, as well as a succession plan. What will happen if one of the owners becomes disabled or dies unexpectedly?

The decision to sell the business or plan for the non-family management team to control the business, needs to be made and acted upon. The management team needs to be on board with these decisions and everything needs to be in writing.

The biggest obstacle to smooth transitions for business owners, is failing to make a decision. If the heirs are left to figure things out and end up battling over shares of the business and responsibilities, the business will suffer, and the family is often left needing to sell an unprofitable business that has lost value.

Planning for an owner to step down, should start once the business is successful and profitable. Having a succession plan, which also includes an estate plan, prepares for any unexpected occurrences and allows family members to get comfortable in their roles as future leaders of the business.

Speak with our estate planning attorneys about your plans for your business to ensure that a successful plan aligns with your estate plan.


Reference: Smart Business (Aug. 27, 2018) “Questions for business owners to consider when estate planning”

Get Help from a Wisconsin Probate and Estate Planning Attorney

The estate planning lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

To attend a free estate planning workshop or to receive our client planner to assess your estate planning mindset, contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 or use our online contact form.

If It’s Not on Paper, Your Wishes Won’t Come True

Do not buy into the myth that estate planning is only relevant for wealthy individuals who need tax planning. A comprehensive estate plan is an easy way to make sure your wishes are followed should you become incapacitated, and upon your death.

One of an estate planning attorney’s main responsibilities is ensuring that clients understand the importance of addressing these matters before they become an issue, reports the New Jersey Herald in the article “The importance of putting plans in writing.”

With No Will, Aretha’s Kids Will Inherit Big Tax Bite

The Queen of Soul did not have an estate plan, a will or a trust when she died from pancreatic cancer recently, according to news reports. That’s especially surprising, said Investment News in the article “Aretha Franklin estate echoes planning problems of Prince,” since her estate has already been valued at as much as $80 million.

Franklin was not married, so the estate will pass to her four children. It’s similar to the situation that occurred when Prince died unmarried and without a will in 2016.

Had she been married her estate would have passed tax-free to a spouse and there would have been planning opportunities available at that time. …

Protect What Comes First and What Comes Last

No one likes to consider the prospect of tragedy striking, especially when children are young, but according to this article in the Lodi News Sentinel, “Planning for what comes last,” estate planning is especially important for families just starting out. When the children grow up, estate planning is important to protect the children, making their lives easier, when the time comes to pass assets along.

Think of an estate plan as a gift for the next generation, as is making funeral plans in advance. You can’t assume that your adult children will know what you want for your funeral and you don’t want them to have to make decisions during a time of great sadness. …

Wills v. Trusts: Why a Trust Isn’t Just For “Rich People”

You might think of a trust as something for wealthy people who want to dispose of high-end assets, like art work, collectible cars or businesses.  However, just like everyone needs an estate plan regardless of their asset level, says The New York Times in the article, “Life After Death? Here’s Why You Should Have a Trust,” many people who are not wealthy could benefit from having a trust. …

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