August is “Make a Will” month, so we asked an expert for some advice to share. Alumnus, Greg Babcock ’03 an attorney with Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. provided the following article and it’s definitely worth the read!
“I talk to people nearly every week who tell me that they have wanted to get a will and other estate documents completed for a long time, but for whatever reason they have continued to put it off. I explain to these people the risks of dying without a will or becoming incompetent while they are alive without power of attorneys. When they hear what could happen if they don’t have a will or power of attorneys in place, that is usually all the motivation that a person needs to get these documents completed today. Usually most people want and need a basic estate plan with a will and health care/financial power of attorneys. Your Will may address issues such as who the beneficiaries of your estate will be, who will administer the estate should you pass away (i.e. the personal representative), and who will be guardian for your children. In your will, you may also provide charitable giving to individuals and/or organizations. This is a great opportunity for people to give back to those people or organizations that had a large impact on their lives. Sometimes people may want or need a revocable or irrevocable trust depending on their circumstances. If you die without a will, you risk that your estate will pass to your heirs according to state law. You might not like that outcome. You also risk that the state will appoint a guardian for your minor children, a person you might not have chosen or wanted as guardian for your children. If you do not have a power of attorney for your health and finances, should you become incompetent, you can not have a person act on your behalf without a court order usually obtained through a guardianship proceeding. A guardianship proceeding can be time intensive, costly, and you are at the mercy of the court’s decision as to who is appointed your guardian.”
Greg Babcock ’03 is an attorney for Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock in Green Bay.