Carroll Law Office, S.C.
W62 N562 Washington Avenue
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Phone: 262-375-9800
Fax: 262-375-9826
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The Estate Planning Process

At Carroll Law Office, S.C., in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, we help individuals and families with all of their estate planning needs.

Playing Ostrich Doesn't Help

The words estate planning have about as much appeal as a root canal. They both sound like procedures to avoid at all costs. In our experience individuals and couples commonly put off doing their estate plans. They've all heard horror stories about the time and expense of probate. They don't like to think about death in general and theirs in particular. They have anxiety about probate, estate taxes, what to do with their assets and perhaps how to deal with a child with special needs.

However, blocking it from your mind, and letting the chips fall where they may after you die is not a viable alternative. Avoidance simply doesn't work. It leads to pain felt by your loved ones. The grief of losing you is mixed with the anger that comes with untangling the mountain of legal and administrative red tape dumped into their laps.

At Carroll Law Office, we will help you solve your estate planning needs in an understanding and professional manner. We ask the right questions and propose the right answers.

What is an Estate Plan, Anyway?

An estate plan is an overall strategy that coordinates the disposition of everything you own: house, bank accounts, investment portfolios, life insurance and retirement plans both during your life and upon your death. When you think of estate planning, you probably think of a will, and you're right to an extent. But estate planning is much more than just a will. Proper estate planning also includes signing other key documents like a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, a declaration to physicians (commonly known as a living will), and perhaps other documents, such as revocable or irrevocable trusts, marital property agreements and business succession documents.

Estate planning, if done correctly, also requires coordinating ownership of your property and designating beneficiaries under your life insurance policies and retirement plans. Cedarburg attorney Robert A. Carroll looks at the big picture so that your estate plan works as a united coherent whole.

Estate Planning Is Not a "Once and Done" Deal

Estate planning is not a one-shot deal. It should be reviewed and updated from time to time, because life rarely stays the same anymore. You may already have drawn up a will or revocable trust. But that doesn't mean that you can simply file the will in your safe deposit box and forget it.

  • If you marry (or re-marry), you may want to enter into a marital property agreement, or change the name of the beneficiary on your life insurance or 401(k) at work to your new spouse (or not). If you then get divorced, you'll need to change the will and insurance beneficiary designations -- again.
  • If you wish to change the named executor, guardian or trustee, you will need to sign a codicil or amendment to your trust. If you move from one state to another, and especially if you move from a "marital property" state, such as Wisconsin, to a "common law" state, or vice versa, your entire estate plan needs to be rethought.
  • If you're fortunate enough to inherit a sizable sum of money or win the lottery, your current estate plan may be inadequate to avoid or diminish estate taxes, and should therefore be revisited.

Laws have a way of changing and throwing existing estate plans out of balance. On these occasions, Carroll Law Office can help to revise your estate plan to keep it up to date.

Contact Carroll Law Office for More Information

If you are considering a will, revocable trust or any other estate planning document, call Bob Carroll at 262-375-9800 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We will meet with you at our Cedarburg office (located in the heart of the downtown district) or another location by appointment. We have a flexible schedule and will meet with you on evenings and weekends if necessary.

At the Carroll Law Office, S.C., we represent clients throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, including those in Cedarburg, Mequon, Grafton, Milwaukee, West Bend, Fort Washington, Germantown, Menomonee Falls, Brown Deer, Waukesha, Thiensville, Waukesha County, Milwaukee County, Ozaukee County and Washington County.