Charles E. Williams Law Office, Ltd.
920-233-2500

128 State St.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
FAQS
What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is the process of establishing how you want your assets distributed after you die or managed in the event of your disability.

What happens if I do not set up an Estate Plan?

The State of Wisconsin has intestate laws and guardianship laws that set forth how your assets will be distributed at death or managed in the event of your disability. Unfortunately the laws that the State of Wisconsin has for you may not be what you want.

What are some Estate Planning Objectives?
At death:
  • To provide instructions regarding the physical and financial care of family members.
  • To name who will distribute your assets per your wishes.
  • To state who will get what, how they will get it and when they will get it.
  • To reduce the costs of settling your estate and allowing your objectives to be accomplished without delay in an orderly inexpensive manner if possible.
  • To minimize your estate and income tax liability.
  • To leave a legacy to a specific person or organization.
While Living:
  • To name who should make your financial decisions.
  • To name who should make your medical decisions if you are unable to make them yourself.
  • To provide you with peace of mind knowing your wishes have been expressed and your estate and affairs are in order.

What is Probate?
Probate is the transfer of your solely owned assets under the supervision of the state probate court. Wills must be admitted; heirs must be determined; personal representative(s) appointed, assets inventoried; creditors notified; disputes settled; taxes, claims, and fees paid; and assets distributed and accounted for. Probate files are public record and the probate process can be beneficial, but complicated, expensive, time consuming and something that can easily avoided in certain situations with the use of beneficiary designations, Transfer on Death deeds, marital property agreements and living trusts.

What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is the management of your person and/or property under the supervision of the state probate court. Guardianship is sometimes referred to as "living probate" since the probate court appoints a guardian to manage your person and/or property while you are living, but unable to manage your affairs.  If you are incapacitated or incompetent, like probate, a person is appointed guardian by the court to: inventory your assets, pay your creditors, and account for your income and expenses. A guardian can also be appointed to make your living arrangements decisions and personal healthcare decisions. The Guardianship process can be beneficial, but complicated, expensive, time consuming and something that can easily avoided in certain situations with the use of a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Finances.