We need your help!
Last year, our office was one of the highest-ranking choices in the Volume One “Best of the Valley.” That was without doing any advertising on our part, and for that we thank you, our valued clients, families, and friends.
This year, voting starts online on November 21, 2023, and our firm will be recognized in two categories: Best Law Firm: Wills, Trusts, and Estates, and Best Law Firm: Real Estate.
We would appreciate your support and your vote for us.
Voting starts November 21 at noon. We will send you a reminder and a link to the voting page.
Thank you in advance for your vote!
Wellness Planning When You’re Well, and
Crisis Planning for When You’re Not
In our practice, we sometimes see what we call “crisis planning.” Crisis planning typically happens when a person or family has not done adequate pre-planning, and some event, such as a stroke, hospitalization, nursing home placement, or the like, happen suddenly, and without much notice.
In those situations, the lack of pre-planning can often result in much higher costs and expenses, sometimes, necessitating a guardianship or other court action, a probate in the event of a death, and unhappiness in the family if there is not agreement on who should be in charge, what should happen, and what the next steps should be.
Fortunately, for most of us, we can and should, do wellness pre-planning to try to anticipate those events, and try to avoid the problems, or at least reduce the stress or anxiety amongst the family members.
The three basic building blocks that everyone should consider, should be:
- A Will, or what we call a “Will Substitute;”
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney;
- A Durable Financial Power of Attorney.
In addition, some people do pre-planning for their funerals, and pre-planning for their long-term care.
Many people choose to do a will, and there are some advantages to that. A will is the traditional way of doing Estate Planning, it tends to be relatively inexpensive. However, wills by their nature go through Probate, and the time for a Probate can be as much as a year or more in Wisconsin, and the cost to go through Probate can be many thousand dollars.
Therefore, many people choose “Will Substitutes.” These could include such things as Revocable Trusts, Transfer on Death Deeds, Beneficiary Designations, and the like. In Wisconsin, we can also do a Marital Property Agreement, which can serve to transfer assets among the family members, without the need of going through Probate. You should discuss these options and alternatives with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney, like the attorneys at Grosskopf & Burch.
The Healthcare Power of Attorney can help avoid the need for Guardianship. The Healthcare Power of Attorney forms are freely available at many places, such as hospitals, clinics, and the like, and many people choose to fill this out themselves. Others prefer to have their attorney prepare deeds and the other documents, as an experienced attorney can help guide the choices and selections that are available to individuals.
Attorneys can also prepare a Durable Financial Power of Attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney, like the Healthcare Power of Attorney, can help avoid the need for Guardianship. There are forms available online, which are generally terrible, and we don’t recommend using those. Financial Powers of Attorney are not expensive, and having them prepared by an experienced Estate Planning Attorney may save money and family drama in the long run.
We like to think of this type of pre-planning as your wellness planning, and hopefully will avoid the necessity for “crisis planning.”
Peter E. Grosskopf
Grosskopf & Burch Law Firm