Estate Planning: How to Get Started
Posted: July 29, 2023
By Heather Triplett, Estate Planning Coordinator
Your estate plan may be the most important set of legal documents you will ever sign.
Depending upon your wishes, your estate plan can:
- Control how your property will be distributed at the time of death.
- Nominate a guardian for children.
- Reduce the costs of probate and possibly eliminate the need to go through probate altogether.
- Reduce wealth transfer taxes at death.
- Provide for the preservation of wealth and the conservation of assets both during life and after death.
- Protect your estate and your heirs’ inheritance from certain creditor claims, divorce claims, and unnecessary taxation.
We can also assist with the implementation of sophisticated estate tax reduction strategies through additional estate planning documents. This may include the establishment of family partnerships, limited liability companies, grantor trust, irrevocable life insurance trust, qualified personal residence trusts and charitable trusts. Gifts to charity, both during life and upon death, may also be an important part of a person’s estate plan.
Some people may be under the impression that creating an estate plan is a lengthy, difficult process and do not know where to start. Fortunately, the estate planning process is much easier than you may think. We have broken down the general process into four key steps.
Step One: Contact our office. You can call our office at (262) 238-6996 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have contacted our office, we will send you a Personal Information Form to help you get organized. The Personal Information Form is built to outline your financial information and answer basic questions about your family, yourself, and your objectives. This form assists our office in analyzing the best course of action for your planning.
Step Two: Initial Meeting. Once your Personal Information Form is completed, we will schedule an initial meeting with one of our attorneys. The initial meeting is risk free. If you are a new client and you choose not to proceed after the initial meeting, we will not charge you for the initial consultation. The initial meeting allows us to get to know you and your family and enables us to understand your wishes and goals along with answering any questions that you may have. The meeting can be conducted in person, by phone, or video conference for your convenience.
Once we learn your goals, we can explain alternative ways to accomplish them and may provide an approximate fee range for the preparation of the documents needed to meet those goals.
Step Three: Review your Documents. If you choose to move forward after the initial meeting the attorneys will draft your estate plan and once completed, the draft will be sent to you for review. You may take your time reviewing the drafts as this allows you to ensure that the documents reflect your goals and the information within is correct. If you have any questions or changes, just let us know, and we can revise the draft as need be.
Step Four: Sign your Documents. Once your estate plan meets your approval, please contact our office to schedule an appointment to sign your documents. During this meeting, you will sign the documents that make up your estate plan in the presence of two witnesses and notary, all of whom will be members of our team. After your documents have been signed, we will provide you with copies along with a sealed package with your original documents.
After we assist you in creating your estate plan, we offer update meetings to review and update your estate plan if necessary. We typically recommend that your estate plan be reviewed every 5 years to ensure that it is up to date with your wishes and the law.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
1251 W. Glen Oaks Lane, Mequon, WI 53092
F: (262) 238-6999