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National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Milwaukee estate planning lawyersIn 2008, Congress passed a resolution proclaiming the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  The resolution noted that “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.”  It is estimated that more than 50% of the adult population, roughly 150 million Americans, do not have an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves, and their families’ assets.

Who Benefits From Estate Planning?

The purpose of estate planning is to develop a strategy that will maintain the financial security of individuals through their lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of their property and assets at death, while taking into consideration the unique circumstances of their families.  All too often, we hear:


How to Avoid Probate

Posted on in Estate Planning

money-probateBy Attorney Denis Regan

Sorting through the sometimes murky waters of an estate after a loved one has passed away can be a difficult and confusing proposition. Add to this the potential of going through a long probate battle and it can become doubly challenging. The mere mention of the word probate can strike fear into the hearts of even the heartiest of souls.

Probate is the legal process for the distribution of an individual's assets after they have passed away. In essence the court inventories the assets of the deceased individual and distributes them to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries after all debts are paid. Many people falsely believe that if you have a will, you will avoid probate. However, this is not the case. In actuality, probate comes from the Latin word for "prove" meaning that the probate process proves the validity of the will.

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