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Estate Planning

Protecting your family, leaving a legacy.

We understand that it’s important to you that your loved ones are properly cared for in the event of an unexpected death. During our 35 years of business, we have witnessed the problems associated with poorly constructed estate plans. These problems have included unnecessary taxes, probate, inappropriate asset transfers, and fractured relationships between siblings. We believe that our unique process of estate planning in Eau Claire provides the solution to mitigate these problems.

Work with a reputable estate planner

The first step to creating an effective estate plan includes hiring an effective estate attorney. Many people choose an attorney to create their estate plan by asking for referrals from friends or other acquaintances. Friends and acquaintances frequently will refer attorneys they may have had a good experience with; unfortunately, the experience they may have had with an attorney does not ensure that they can create an effective estate plan. Selecting an attorney who creates effective estate plans requires seeing the aftermath of the estate plans. Our firm has personally witnessed the aftermath of many different attorneys’ estate plans. We use this information to build our network of estate attorneys.

Selecting an effective estate attorney is only part of a successful estate plan. Unfortunately, many people believe that once they have completed their will, trust, and other estate documents, this ensures an efficient estate transfer to their surviving spouse, children, and, when applicable, charities. This belief is not the case. Many estate problems occur because people fail to properly list beneficiaries or title assets as instructed within their estate plan. When properties, investment accounts, loans, and other assets do not have the proper beneficiaries listed or are not correctly titled, the estate plan cannot work as the attorney intended.

Create an estate plan early

To mitigate the estate problems that occur following the creation of an estate plan, our team at Bernicke Wealth Management has created a process that includes an actively maintained estate profile for all clients in our Private Client Group. Our estate profiles establish an inventory of all assets, liabilities, and insurance policies, including how each of these assets is titled, and it also includes each applicable assets’ beneficiary designations. This inventory can also include contact information for all financial, insurance, and legal professionals you have relationships with. It may also include usernames and passwords for any websites your beneficiaries may need to access. When applicable, we can even include a legacy letter designed to communicate nonfinancial items you want to impart to your children.

The benefits of a well-crafted estate plan along with an actively monitored estate profile provide multiple benefits. If a spouse passes away, our firm has an on-staff estate specialist that can significantly simplify the items needing to be completed because we have an active list of the estate profile, the estate plan, along with beneficiary designations and titling. The profile information helps us act as a guide to the surviving spouse, which can provide both simplicity and peace of mind knowing they do not have to figure this out on their own. We also find that our process goes to great lengths to prevent sibling animosity. We believe this occurs because a sound estate plan and estate profile can serve as the foundation for your executor to openly and accurately share with the children concisely what was intended to happen, thereby minimizing the skepticism that can occur when vague information is shared. The final benefit includes minimized taxes and probate avoidance.  

If you would like to receive a second opinion on your current estate strategy, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our qualified financial advisors.

Learn why you may be able to retire earlier than you think.
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