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A will is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of estate planning. It is the document that outlines your decisions about how your property will be managed and distributed after your death. Without a will, state laws dictate how your property is distributed.
Documenting decisions about your property isn't the only reason to make a will. A will names your personal representative. Your personal representative is in charge of managing your estate after your death, paying taxes and creditors and distributing the rest of your property to your heirs and beneficiaries. Your personal representative should be a reliable and organized person whom you trust.
Your will also names who will take care of your minor children after your death. If no one is named, a judge will have to decide who will be the guardian of your children. You're the best person to make that decision because you know your children better than anyone else.
A will can serve other purposes, like directing the transfer of leftover assets into a trust you created while you were alive, or creating a trust that takes effect at your death.
Making a will involves more than just filling in the blanks on a generic document. A fill-in-the-blank will may not use the right language to reflect your wishes, cause misunderstandings or not follow the formalities required for a valid will in Wisconsin. We will make sure your will is clear and properly executed. We can recommend other estate planning tools that coordinate with your will to ease the burden on your family if you are unwell and after your death.
The best time to make a will and a comprehensive estate plan is now. As you get older, you run the risk of losing the mental capacity to make a will. As your estate becomes more complex, you run the risk of dying without a plan and leaving the distribution of your property in the hands of a judge who doesn't know you or your family.