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Planning Your Estate

An estate plan is simply a strategy to take care of the people you care about – including yourself.

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A Life Legacy for Your Loved Ones

You’ve worked hard to create a good life for your family – building a home, saving money and providing your children with a good education. You've made some sacrifices along the way, but it was worth it. You’ve planned well and you’re savoring the benefits. Our advisors can help you build upon the legacy you’ve already started through a thoughtful estate plan to carry out your wishes for your family and future generations.

Why is an estate plan important?

A great estate plan should tell your story — the story you want told if you’re not around to tell it.

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  • Assures your affairs are handled as you wish
  • Allows you to avoid probate court
  • Reduces estate taxes by placing property and other assets in trusts
  • Makes provisions to care for and protect children and other beneficiaries
  • Protects your assets from unforeseen creditors or lawsuits
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Why do families avoid estate planning?

Many of us realize we should have a plan to provide for our loved ones after we die, but we may avoid actually putting one in place.

  • Don't want to think about death
  • Too busy
  • Believe they don’t have enough assets to warrant an estate plan
  • Unsure of how to distribute assets to children or other heirs

What story does your estate plan tell?

Your story communicates who you care about, what you care about and what you believe. It is unique to you.

Who do you want to make decisions?

An estate plan identifies the right people to make decisions for you in the case of incapacity or for others in the case of guardianship. It can also determine a trustee to execute your plan.

How does my estate plan fit with my overall financial plan?

An estate plan should work hand in hand with your overall financial plan. It will reflect your beliefs and support your loved ones. A team including a financial advisor, estate planning attorney and tax professional, can design a trust to protect your estate and tell your story. We can establish structures to mimic ownership while protecting your assets from creditors or divorce.

What do you believe in?

Use your wealth to encourage accomplishment by incenting hard work or meaningful social impact.

Who do you want to take care of?

An estate plan can get the right property to the right people at the appropriate time. It identifies the people you care about, determines which property should be transferred and defines how that property will be passed on. It can differentiate between emotional assets and financial assets.

How to Get Started

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Determine your needs

Before meeting with a financial advisor or estate planning attorney, identify key questions that your plan will address:

  • Who should inherit your assets and should the assets be divided?
  • Who should care for your children if you cannot? (This would include your children’s education.)
  • Who should handle finances for you and your spouse if you become incapacitated?
  • Who should administer your estate plan and distribute your assets?
  • Who should be the executor of your will/s?
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Take inventory

Make a list of current assets and liabilities for you and your spouse to calculate your net worth and determine if your estate would be subject to taxes.

  • Your home and any other property you own
  • Vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Artwork and other objects of value
  • Financial statements from banks, brokerage and retirement accounts, safety deposit boxes or safes, insurance policies and liabilities such as mortgages, lines of credit and all other debt
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Identify your beneficiaries

Designate primary and secondary beneficiaries in case an heir dies before you do, or if a charitable organization no longer exists when you die.

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Do you need a trust?

Your beneficiaries can receive assets either directly or through a trust. The decision to create a trust likely will depend on factors such as a benefactor’s age, health and the family’s financial circumstances.

Learn More Learn more about estate planning
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Keep your plan current

Once you have an estate plan, review and update every three to five years as needed, or whenever you experience a life changing event, including:

  • The death of a spouse.
  • The birth or death of a beneficiary or fiduciary.
  • Moving to another state or country.
  • A significant change in your financial situation.
  • The purchase or sale of a business.
  • Divorce or remarriage.
  • If you, your spouse or beneficiary become physically or mentally disabled.

We can help you get there

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Estate Planning

An estate plan identifies the right people to help make decisions for you in the case of incapacity or for others in the case of guardianship. It will also determine a trustee to execute your plan.

LEARN MORE about estate planning.
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Establish Your Legacy

Determine what story you want your wealth to tell about you and your family. If your financial plan indicates that you have more than necessary for a lifetime of financial independence, your wealth can be used now to create your legacy.

LEARN MORE about family wealth planning.
Joel Bailey
Joel Bailey, SVP Wealth Advisor, Janesville, WI

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No matter what financial needs you may have, we're here for you. Our experienced advisors work closely with you to build the right path to help you achieve your goals.

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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.