Estate Planning & Probate | Walworth County Lawyers
Regardless of your age, your health, your status in life, or the size of your estate, we can help craft a personal estate plan to meet your specific needs and those of your family. Drafting an estate plan — one that includes health care considerations — serves to protect you and your loved ones, will give your doctor direction on making health care decisions (if you cannot speak for yourself), and can prevent probate court disputes after your death. Our elder law and estate planning lawyers have helped Wisconsin and northern Illinois residents create health care, trust and estate plans that serve to carry out their wishes.
For help with your estate, trust or probate needs, contact the law office of Sweet & Maier, S.C.
Tax and Estate Planning
For various reasons, we may suggest that your estate plan include the creation of a trust, which can be an effective tool to minimize income or estate taxes, protect assets or manage your future financial needs. We can discuss asset protection strategies with you, including revocable or irrevocable “living” trusts, asset protection trusts, or special needs trusts. A special needs trust is often created through a will, or as a separate instrument, in order for you to provide long-term financial assistance for a child or an adult with a disability. This trust may also enable the person to continue to qualify for government programs, while a trustee oversees the funds in the trust.
Your Options When Drafting a Will
If you do not have a will, the state, through its intestate succession laws, will direct how your estate is handled, and to whom your assets are distributed. You can direct your own plan through a will, which we can help you draw and sign in accordance with law. When a parent’s untimely death leaves behind minor children, a legal guardian must be named. Through a will, you can name a friend or relative to be the guardian of your children, rather than having a court name that person without your guidance. There are many alternatives to consider when drafting a will. Our firm can assist you in writing a will and drafting other estate planning documents that typically form the basis for a comprehensive estate plan.
Health Care Planning
At Sweet & Maier, S.C., we are also experienced in helping clients with their health care planning needs, and the tools to carry the plan into effect. We routinely assist people with writing their living wills, appointing a health care agent under a durable power of attorney, formulating a declaration to their physicians, or creating a special needs trust for a person under a disability.
Estates, Guardianships and Conservatorships
When a person dies, the Court-supervised process which sees to it that the persons’ final bills are paid, taxes are taken care of, and the balance of the estate is distributed in accordance with the Will (or if there is no will, the provisions of state law) is called probate. The attorneys at Sweet & Maier, S.C. are experienced in this process, and are available to advise you regarding the best, most economical, way to proceed when a loved one passes away.
There are other court-supervised proceedings which are used to see to it that living persons are cared for. A “guardian” is appointed to take care of a person who is under some type of legal disability. Other proceedings may see the appointment of a “conservator” who becomes responsible for the financial affairs of a person who needs that kind of help. Our attorneys are experienced in all these other proceedings, usually administered by the local probate court.
Whether you are writing a will, planning for your children, exploring estate planning alternatives, or there has been a death in your family, our estate planning attorneys are available to help create plans that comply with state laws, provide for your loved ones, or otherwise help to guide you through any Court proceeding. Contact our lawyers to help you through this process.
Forms and Other Information:
Other information, and forms you might be interested in, are as follows:
The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes
Planning for your Digital Estate
Even Billionaires Make Mistakes!
New Legal Tools for Parents: Delegation of Parental Authority Though a Power of Attorney
Delegation of Parental Authority
Personal Information Worksheet
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Agreement
Qualified Personal Residence Trust (“QPRT”)
Ten Ways Sweet & Maier, S.C. Can Assist Its Estate Planning Clients
Revocable Living Trust Declarations
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Other Property
Federal Estate Tax Update Letter