Now that the holidays are over and the new year is here, are you ready to focus on your goals and resolutions? Are you planning to get better organized or adding new and better habits? We know you will achieve the resolutions you set for yourself and we would like to share another resolution that is both easy and critical to complete.

We believe the most important resolution you can make for the new year is creating or updating your Wisconsin estate plan. With your estate plan in place you can protect yourself during your lifetime and at the time of your passing. By working with your attorney during your lifetime, you can ensure that your choices and wishes surrounding your health care and finances are honored by your chosen decision maker. You may also ensure that your family will be provided for when you are no longer here with them through the legacy you create.

Is there a good time to initiate this resolution? Yes, as soon as possible! You will want to maximize the potential benefits a Wisconsin estate plan has to offer by creating it now and taking steps to help ensure your estate plan remains updated to reflect your most current circumstances and goals. If you have an existing plan, time is of the essence to review it and ensure that it still meets your needs.

There are a variety of legal planning tools to address how your assets will be managed and distributed in the event of your death or incapacity, among other things, with a Wisconsin estate plan. There are many changes that can happen within your family, your business, and your finances in a year. Therefore, it can be important to make sure your estate plan remains effective in not only encapsulating the desired future for you and your loved ones, but also has the best tools in place to accomplish those goals. For that reason, when there is a birth, death, divorce, or other life update or changes in laws, it should be a priority, and an achievable resolution, to work with your attorney to determine if your estate plan needs any updates or significant changes.

Remember your Wisconsin estate planning attorney can discuss with you the importance of lifetime planning tools, such as the durable power of attorney for your finances and related health care documents like the living will. He can also help you decide who should be your decision maker, and back up decision maker, in times of crisis or in an emergency situation. Your attorney can also discuss with you the difference between will based estate planning and trust based estate planning. While a will is subject to the Florida probate court, a trust is not. You can make it one of your achievable resolutions to learn more about these two planning tools, as well as how a trust can be a very versatile estate planning vehicle to help protect and distribute your assets.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you achieve the New Year’s Resolution of having a Wisconsin estate plan that can meet your needs. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.