As you greet the new year with your family, are you looking forward to accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself this new year? Is one of your goals this year to focus on taking care of your future and the future of your family, by being sure that you have a comprehensive Wisconsin estate plan in place? Good for you, we have an estate planning checklist to share. Do you currently have a Wisconsin estate plan but have not looked at it in years? Start the new year by getting it out, dusting it off and updating it.

To begin, we meet on a daily basis with clients and their loved ones to discuss just what is needed in a comprehensive Wisconsin estate plan. We advise them in creating a plan that will be sure they are personally protected, as well as their business, their family, and the legacy they want to leave behind. In addition, we meet with clients who have not looked at their estate plan in years and advise them on what updates are needed.

Below, we have an estate planning checklist that we would like to share with you to use for both creating and updating a Wisconsin estate plan. We recommend that you begin to use it now to make sure that your estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future

1. Check how recent your Wisconsin estate plan is. Think about it, when was the last time you updated your estate plan? There may be changes as simple as name changes and address changes, but they may cause problems when they are not updated. In addition, when you meet with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney he can make sure it reflects what you actually want and is in line with any laws that have passed since you created your estate.

2. Make your health care decision maker choice now. If you were suddenly incapacitated who would make your healthcare decisions? With your healthcare decision-making documents you can legally appoint someone now to make those decisions in the future. Take the time now to check in with your attorney to make sure you have the person you want to have legal authority to make decisions for you in a crisis set up properly.

3. Look into retirement goals and future planning. Did you know that a critical part of estate planning is retirement planning? Do you have goals for your retirement? Does your estate plan follow your goals for retirement? Do you need guidance on how to get where you want to go, not just financially, but with an eye on the legacy that you want to create? Sit down with your Wisconsin estate planning attorney as soon as possible for answers to these questions.

4. Be prepared for long-term care. What would happen if, in the future, you needed significant long-term care? Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for most types of long-term care. Therefore, it is important for you to consider your long-term care needs and whether the financial drain on your resources could impact your estate-planning. As the new year begins, schedule a meeting with your Wisconsin attorney to discuss how potential long-term care complications could impact your estate plan and the goals you have for your future, your family and your legacy.

5. No probate for your estate when you pass away. With the help of your Wisconsin estate planning attorney your estate plan may possibly be crafted in such a way as to help you avoid the Wisconsin probate process. We can help develop your estate plan to possibly avoid probate, but also be able to protect your beneficiaries going forward. You need to have an estate plan that will be able to not only leave a legacy but also ensure that future generations will be protected. Be sure to include all these thoughts and questions at the top of your estate planning checklist when you meet with your Wisconsin estate planning attorney.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you protect your aging relatives. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.