Estate Planning Spotlight – Taking Care of Loved Ones

Estate Planning Spotlight – Taking Care of Loved Ones

This topic obviously encompasses young children but can truly expand to include grandchildren or your surviving spouse.

We live in a very optimistic society, we like to bury our heads in the sand and think that nothing’s ever going to go sideways. But the reality is, things do happen.

There are a lot of things like transfers of money, transfers of assets that seem natural, that seem like it’s just going to work out but in today’s world, the reality is it doesn’t work like that. So benevolence also requires some legal framework as well.

We call it connecting the dots. It’s completing a plan.

Caring for or leaving an inheritance to minors

Certainly! When dealing with young children, it’s essential to create a last will and testament that includes guardianship arrangements and, ideally, trust provisions for any minor children who may be left without their parents if they were to pass away. Nobody wants to think about this. It’s difficult. It’s a horrible, distressing thought.

But the thought of leaving no guidance is remarkably more distressful and can lead to families fighting, grandmas and grandpas arguing continuously, oversight by the government, and reporting to the court annually all is very burdensome.

You know, I think this is crazy. Course on the Guardian and my own kids like the guy knows that right? He entrusted the money to my kids. But the court doesn’t think like that. So you’re very true are like, Oh, everything’s gonna be fine society gets a lot of legal walls.

A personal story from Michelle –

My boys recently received a small inheritance from a family friend. I completed all the death claim forms as their guardian, but the company insisted that I had to request guardianship from the court for my own kids to be able to receive the money left to them. In addition, I now have to report to the court every year on how I invest their money.

This made me think of our clients that leave money to grandkids. Parents or grandparents who intend to leave money to minors, including their own children or grandchildren, must have a well-thought-out plan in place; otherwise, the courts will become involved. This necessity arises due to the risk of irresponsible beneficiaries squandering the funds, potentially leaving nothing for the child. We’re sleeping in the bed made by others, and as a result, we have the burden of having to file for what seems like ridiculous legal constructs around our minor beneficiaries. So it’s important that your benevolence is also tidied up with a little bit of legal structure. And that can be leaving it in a trust for a child with a designated trustee. That’s a little bit more of a formal structure. That seems burdensome, but it’s really not near as burdensome as the alternative.

Here’s another absurd situation. Mom and Dad are in an accident and they’ve not passed away but they are incapable of managing their affairs they’re incapacitated in some way. You now need well-drafted Powers of Attorney to name who’s next up to that to take care of your kids when you can’t.

AI Bots vs a Professional

A lot of people in today’s world turn to Google and find a quick and easy answer with a form to fill out or chatbot AI to write an estate plan.

One can never determine the quality of writing, whether one has done it well or poorly, until one evaluates it. It may sound appealing and cost-effective, and it may be simple to underestimate its significance… but an advisor must address many nuances.


Surviving Partners

Many assumptions are made in relationships that are simply not true. There is this assumption that just because I’m married to somebody or because of our community property law, I can control and decide everything. But spouses or partners don’t automatically have the ability to step in and make decisions. So granting that specifically in a power of attorney is important.

Assumptions are terrible, you cannot assume that just because you have a certain status that things are going to work. A legal structure is where you create the legal ability for people to represent your interests, clearly spelled out. And again, this is one of those things that we often overlook, to deal with spousal benefits in that, or even partner benefits in that period of incapacity instead of death. Big, big oversight with a lot of families.

A Real-Life Story

We have clients that had been together for a long time. They each had kids from previous marriages.  He had cancer and passed away recently. They are an example of a good plan,  they thought and planned ahead.

They lived on his farm and in his house which will go to his kids eventually, but they set up where she has a life estate; the ability to live there as long as she is alive.

If it’s not done the right way the family might decide they want the house now and leave the surviving partner homeless.  There are always things to think about to ensure stability for the surviving spouse, as well as adult children beneficiaries in situations like this.

Estate Planning Spotlight – Taking Care of Loved Ones: If you have beneficiaries in any of the above categories or others we haven’t discussed today, let’s chat!


Click HERE to schedule a one-on-one coffee chat with me. It’s just a quick chat to discuss how we might be able to contribute to an improved financial future for you and your loved ones.

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We serve clients in the following locations and more:
Mineral Point WI, Dodgeville WI, Platteville WI, Lancaster WI, Fennimore WI, Boscobel WI, Richland Center WI, Muscoda WI, Spring Green WI, Mazomanie WI, Sauk City WI, Middleton WI, Madison WI, Fitchburg WI, Verona WI, Mount Horeb WI, Barneveld WI, New Glarus WI, Monroe WI, Belleville WI, Oregon WI, Stoughton WI, Darlington WI, Cuba City WI, Hazel Green WI, Belmont WI, Dubuque IA, Freeport IL


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