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What is an estate plan?

An estate plan details how to transfer the right property to the right people in the right way at the right time. This includes a plan for your assets like your home, cars, investment accounts, retirement accounts or pensions, insurance and any other important personal belongings.

Having an estate plan in place:

  • Assures that you and your spouse's affairs are handled the way you wish
  • Allows you to avoid probate court
  • Reduces estate taxes by placing property and other assets in trusts
  • Enables you to make provisions to care for and protect children and other beneficiaries
  • Protects your assets from unforeseen creditors or lawsuits

Benefits of an Estate Plan

Estate planning protects your assets for the benefit of future generations.

Prevents assets from transferring to unintended recipients.

Protects families with children by identifying guardians for minor children and assuring they have adequate care.

Prevents confusion for family members by creating a clear plan for who will get what.

Can save heirs from federal or state taxes to avoid tax burdens.

Estate Planning Tools

A thoughtful plan can make a difference for you and your loved ones.

Will

A will is a written document in which you identify what you would like done with your assets upon your death.

Revocable Trust

A revocable trust, sometimes called a living trust, is a legal document that allows you to outline how you would like your assets controlled during your lifetime, a disability and after your death.

Advance Directive

An advance directive, or living will, is a legal document that allows you to plan and make known your own end-of-life wishes if you become unable to communicate.

Power of Attorney

  • Financial Durable - A durable power of attorney allows you to designate a person to access and control your financial assets.
  • Health Care - A heathcare power of attorney enables you to designate a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make them yourself.

Family Mission Statement

A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression of your family's purpose, goals and standards.

Disposition of Remains

This document allows you to specify what you would like done with your final remains and provides direction for the ceremonial aspects of your funeral arrangements. These instructions can ease the burden for surviving loved ones who want to make sure your final wishes are fulfilled.

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Trustee and Estate Administration Services

While many individuals rely on family or friends to settle their affairs, delegating these demanding and complex tasks is smart.  Eliminate undue stress by assigning the responsibility to an experienced trustee or administrator.

As your trustee, we act as your fiduciary to carry out the terms of your trust exactly as you planned. We can act as sole trustee, co-trustee or successor trustee. We can also provide advice for all states of estate administration to ensure timely, specific execution of your estate plan.

Our Trustee Services

  • Trust administration
  • Investment management
  • Custody services
  • Trust accounting
  • Tax review and reporting
  • Record keeping services

Our Estate Administration Services

  • Collecting and preserving assets
  • Distribution of assets to beneficiaries
  • Asset titling
  • Assistance in making tax decisions

We can also help you with...

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Retirement & Financial Planning

Developing a sound financial plan is essential to achieving your long-term retirement goals.

LEARN MORE about how we can help you create sound financial plan.

If you do not have a will when you die, the state, by law, dictates where your property goes. These laws are referred to as intestacy laws.

Without a Financial Power of Attorney, financial decisions cannot be made until someone (presumably a family member) retains an attorney and petitions the court to appoint a guardian of your estate.

Without a Healthcare Power of Attorney, healthcare decisions cannot be made for you until someone (presumably a family member) retains an attorney and petitions the court to appoint a guardian of the person for you.

A revocable trust is subject to change or amendment; an irrevocable trust cannot be amended.

Property owned by your revocable trust is not protected from your creditors, including a nursing home.

When you leave your property in a trust for your children, the trust can be designed to protect the property from your children’s creditors, including a divorcing spouse.

A family mission statement is a critical document to communicate your wishes and beliefs to key decision makers. It can help ensure that they will make the same decisions you would make if you were alive. Do you need one? No. Do you want one? Without question.

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This website may contain concepts that have legal, accounting, tax, and investment implications. It is not intended to provide legal, accounting, or tax advice and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any investment.

Graham Baxter
Graham Baxter, VP Wealth Advisor, Mequon, WI

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