Harmony of Legacy: A 12-Day Estate Planning Celebration (Days 5 to 8)

To continue our holiday series “Harmony of Legacy: A 12-Day Estate Planning Celebration,” we share with you four more days. In case you missed our first few verses, you can find them here.

Day 5: Five Golden Rings = Jewelry and Prized Possessions

On the fifth day of Christmas, our attention turns to our favorite things. How to divvy up jewelry and other valuable possessions can lead to disputes among family members and beneficiaries. Wisconsin law permits you to have a separate, signed, and dated document in conjunction with your will or trust through which you leave particular items to specific individuals. But remember – Wisconsin does not permit holographic wills, so do not try to leave things via this method without a complete estate plan.

Day 6: Six Geese-a-Laying = Conserving Your Family’s Legacy

Six geese-a-laying bring forth the theme of legacy preservation on our sixth day. If you strategically lay the groundwork today, you can ensure a lasting impact on your family’s prosperity and values.  To preserve your wealth for future generations, consider creating a dynasty trust, which allows for the precise distribution of wealth.  The “generation-skipping transfer tax” or “GSTT” can devour a large portion of your wealth before reaching your grandchildren or great-grandchildren. A dynasty trust helps you avoid estate taxes by skipping generations when transferring assets.  You can provide your grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, with the assets necessary to achieve their dreams.

Day 7: Seven Swans a Swimming = Durable Financial Powers of Attorney

Keep your financial affairs afloat with a Durable Financial Power of Attorney. This document provides protection during your lifetime if you are incapacitated and unable to make financial decisions. In a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, you appoint someone to be your agent to manage your financial affairs and act on your behalf. If you become incapacitated without a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, your family would have to go to court to have someone appointed to handle your affairs. Read more about the importance of a Durable Financial Power of Attorney.

Day 8: Eight Maids-a-Milking = A Moo-ving Guide to Health Care Powers of Attorney

As we explore the theme of giving on the eighth day, your Health Care Power of Attorney can play a vital role in ensuring your medical wishes are carried out, even if you cannot speak for yourself.  Your HCPOA is an often overlooked yet crucial document.  An HCPOA is a legal document in which you appoint a trusted individual as your “health care agent” to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.  Your health care agent can ensure your medical wishes are heard and respected.  HCPOAs are also important for your young-adult family members.

Stay tuned for more valuable insights in the upcoming days as we continue our “12 Days of Christmas” estate planning series!