Why you Need an Estate Plan

By Attorney Andrew D. Klopfenstein

While often overlooked in one’s busy life, Estate Planning is, and should be, a priority when planning for your future. Without a proper estate plan, your assets may be given to people that you did not want to receive the assets, your family may be subject to unnecessary and unwanted court expenses, or your final wishes may not be completely fulfilled. The basic foundations of a proper estate which every individual should possess to properly plan for themselves and their loved ones:

1. Healthcare Power of Attorney. Is a document that designates an agent to act on your behalf. A Health Care Power of Attorney authorizes your agent, after two independent physicians assess you are no longer competent to make your own healthcare decisions, to follow your wishes regarding end of life care.

2. Durable Financial Power of Attorney. This becomes effective immediately upon the signing of the document. The Durable Financial Power of Attorney gives your agent the power to act on your behalf to handle your finances. This may include paying bills, dealing with Social Security, opening/closing accounts, or any other situation where you as the individual are now unable to act.

3. Will. The Will directs a personal representative of your choosing how to dispose of your property. This may include specific gifts to people or charities, and may also direct personal property to be given to specific individuals. Without a properly executed Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Wisconsin Statutes, which may exclude people that you want to receive the assets. Insure your wishes are followed.

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