The firm of Andre Law Officse serves individuals, families, and businesses in Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin

Estate Planning

While some events in life are predictable, many are not. It is important to prepare for life's many variables. Estate planning is one tool we can use to help you prepare for unexpected events. Most people think of estate planning simply in terms of how your assets are distributed after you pass away. While this is one aspect of estate planning, an estate planning attorney can do much more.

Planning the distribution of your assets is important. After all, you have worked hard to acquire those assets and to take care of your family. With proper estate planning you can decide who will receive your assets upon your passing, as well as how and when they will receive those assets. Some estate planning tactics also allow you to avoid probate, while still providing you full control of and access to your assets during your lifetime.

Just as important, however, is planning who will assist you during your lifetime should you ever become incapacitated. With proper planning, you can decide who will make financial and health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with selecting the right person to make financial or health care decisions for you.

The Wisconsin estate planning attorneys at Andre Law Offices have an extensive understanding of the many estate and succession planning options available to individuals and businesses. Let us use our skills and our knowledge to your advantage.

Last Will and Testament

A will is a legal document that directs the disposition of assets you own at the time of your death. You must choose a Personal Representative of your estate. The Personal Representative will be responsible for filing your will with the Probate court, paying creditors, filing tax returns, and distributing the remainder of your property to the named beneficiaries. If you have minor children, you should also decide who to designate as their guardian. The guardian will manage the money you leave for your children, unless a trust is established. Return to Top

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Sometimes a will won't accomplish all of your estate planning goals. In those instances, a trust may be appropriate. Trusts can be used to direct the disposition of your property after you pass. A trust, however, provides more flexibility and more options than a will. There are a number of different types of trusts you can create, but the most common is a revocable trust.

A revocable trust is one that can be revoked or amended at any time. It allows the testator to create an asset holding entity that governs how the assets will be distributed, while also providing management flexibility.

Trusts can also be irrevocable. Although less common, irrevocable trusts are used in a few specific scenarios. Irrevocable trusts are most commonly used for the protection of assets from potential nursing home costs, to ensure Medicaid eligibility, or to minimize estate taxes. Irrevocable trusts can also take the form of life insurance trusts, asset protection trusts, charitable trusts, and trusts for minor children and grandchildren.

Trusts provide a number of benefits that wills do not, including avoiding probate proceedings. Trusts also allow you to create a built-in asset protection system, preserving the inheritance left to your beneficiaries. Irrevocable trusts can protect your assets from unexpected life events, such as divorce, creditors, nursing home care, or a beneficiary's financial irresponsibility. You may be able to set-up a trust that reduces estate taxes for future generations, or directs how and when assets will be distributed to your children or grandchildren after they reach age 18. Return to Top

Powers of Attorney

Estate planning also allows you to plan for disability or incapacity. Specifically, a comprehsive estate plan will ensure lifetime control over financial and healthcare decisions. Today you are able to make your own decisions, but what happens if you become disabled or incapacitated? The solution is simple: proper planning.

Powers of attorney allow you to choose people you trust and give them the power to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Everyone 18 years old or older should have two Powers of Attorney, a General Durable Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. A General Durable Power of Attorney provides your appointee with the power and ability to manage your finances. A Healthcare Power of Attorney provides your appointee with the power and ability to make health care decisions on your behalf. In the event that you become incapacited or legally incompetent, without these documents, your family will be forced file a costly court action to obtain the necessary authority to act on your behalf.

Wisconsin statutes also permit Living Wills. Living Wills include directives for certain circumstances, usually permanent losses of consciousness or terminal conditions. A Living Will allows you to indicate whether or not you want a cardiac resuscitator, respirator, or feeding tubes to be used, withheld, or discontinued when you lose the capacity to give consent.

The attorneys of Andre Law Offices, LLC assist clients in preparing the documents necessary to ensure they can retain control during their lifetime and avoid court intervention. Return to Top

Families with Young Children

Parents love their children, and work hard to keep them safe. For some reason, however, most parents don't take the measures necessary to ensure their minor children will be properly taken care of in the event of the death or disability of one or both parents. Many young families put off estate planning because they view it as an avoidable expense or believe they do not have substantial assets to protect. In reality, an estate plan is essential to ensure that your children will be properly cared for in the event of a catastrophic event.

In the event both parents pass without proper legal plans in place, a court will appoint a guardian for your minor children based on what the court deems to be in the best interest of your children. In other words, you may have no influence on who will raise your children. In the absence of a minor trust with your specific directives, your children will receive their full inheritance at age 18, without any guidance.

Every family situation is different, but planning today can give you peace of mind tomorrow. Return to Top

Business Succession Planning

Your business is your life's work and your legacy. Most business owners dedicate substantial amounts of time to building and expanding their businesses, but fail to think about what will happen to the business they worked so hard to build after they pass away or are no longer able to run the business. Ensuring that your business survives long after a change in leadership, especially if a family-held business, should be a priority.

Business succession planning is an investment in the future of your business and your family. Planning is the number one key to future success. A comprehensive succession plan emphasizes your commitment to your business's long-term growth and sustainability, raising the confidence of your customers, lenders, employees and key suppliers, and providing security for your family.

The process begins with a full review of the organization and its key players. This review usually leads to the reorganization of equity, updating of wills and trusts and review of existing insurance policies. Another key phase is the drafting of Buy Sell Agreements and review of compensation procedures.

Because businesses and business owners adapt and change, it is critical that you regularly review and update your succession plans.

The Wisconsin business succession planning attorneys at Andre Law Offices have an extensive understanding of business law and succession planning, as well as an appreciation of family decision making. Let us use our skills, knowledge and experience to your advantage.

If you wish to set up an estate plan or simply discuss the options available to you, contact the attorneys at Andre Law Offices today. Return to Top

Practice Areas

  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Personal Injury
  • Workers Compensation
  • Appellate Practice
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