ó Itís the one thing everybody has in common: Weíre all
going to die at some point.
sometimes it can be a tough thought to stomach, itís important
that people remain proactive about it and plan before itís too
planning is something that anyone that starts acquiring wealth
should start thinking about, said attorney Michael Kaiser.
who specializes in estate planning at KAISER HOLAHAN, LLC in
Hartland and is the president of the Waukesha County Estate
Planning Council, compared determining where you want your assets
to go when you die to having insurance: You donít want something
bad to happen, but youíre prepared if ó and when ó it does.
all have (car and health care) insurance, and we hope we donít
need it,Ē Kaiser said. ďEstate planning ... you have a
contingency plan in place in case something bad occurs. We all
know that we will all die, and yet so many people donít take the
time to do the planning for it. Itís like an insurance policy to
make sure what you want to have happen (when you die) happens.Ē
a new tax plan rolled out by President Donald Trumpís
administration recently, there are many changing factors at stake.
sat down with The Freeman for a Q& A about the future of
FREEMAN: What are
some of the questions someone looking for estate planning
assistance should ask?
First, they have to think about what assets they have. What assets
are we talking about that are potentially going to need someone to
manage and/or to pass to the next rightful owner? The second would
be where do you want those assets to go? Is it to charity, to your
family, is it kids or other relatives?
people know those answers readily. The next level is who do you
want to manage that process of getting those assets to the next
rightful owners? And thatís a concept of personal
representative, through probate or a trustee.
FREEMAN: Is there
a specific age people should begin thinking about estate planning?
Most clients start thinking about this when they have kids. That
doesnít mean you donít need to do some planning before you
have kids, but I think as soon as you start accumulating wealth,
you should. Before you turn 30, youíre ďimmortal,Ē maybe
even 40. You think, ďIím not going to die, Iím not going to
think about this.Ē But I think as soon as you have a checking
account, you should be thinking about what happens if I become
incapacitated? Does anyone have access to pay that bill of mine or
make my car payment? If I die,
does that money go?
FREEMAN: What are
the pros and cons of having a will versus having a trust fund in
A will is a tool and a trust is a tool and they can accomplish
similar results in different fashions. Some of the biggest
differences are that using a trust can avoid the probate process.
think thereís a misconception that if you donít have a will,
you go to probate. But if you have a will, you donít and
thatís not true. What drives probate is your assets. I donít
think thereís any one-size-fits all estate plan.
THE FREEMAN: Are
there any notable recent trends in estate planning?
Weíre certainly at a point in time here with the baby boomers.
Weíre entering this phase of probably the largest wealth
transfer thatís really ever going to occur, so I think people
are definitely thinking about it. The estate tax laws drive a lot
of estate planning, everybody is always trying to figure out how
can I pass as much (assets) as possible to them and not have Uncle
Sam take a bite, or take as little as possible.
the biggest change to estate planning with the Trump
Trump just rolled out his plan, and itís all really based on
income tax. But, looking into the detail about estate taxes and
people in the estate-planning world are worried about whatís
going to happen to the estate tax law and whatís going to happen
with capital gains rules I donít have any predictions about what
itís going to be because I donít know. Weíre all kind of
FREEMAN: What does
the WCEPC do?
We are a professional association of folks who work in the estate
planning space, but itís not all estate planning lawyers. We are
accountants, financial advisers, thereís CPAs and thereís some
the local chapter of a national organization called the National
Association of Estate Planners and Counsels. We focus on
networking and education. We meet six times a year to both network
and to provide continuing education to our members so that we can
collaborate and work together to help our clients.