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What Happens if You Die Without a Last Will and Testament in Wisconsin?
It’s not something we talk about often, but it shouldn’t take being hospitalized or dealing with a chronic illness for us to think of creating wills. Life happens fast, and death is not something we can plan for; but, don’t you think you can save your family years of anguish by naming a guardian for your kids, distributing your estate as you deem fit, or creating a business succession plan well ahead of your time?
With a free Wisconsin last will and testament form, you can write down your after-life wishes, and the best part is that no one will question your decisions and so, even if someone is not on your list of beneficiaries, they will only have to blame you.
The last will and testament also lets you create irrevocable testamentary trusts. If you have been looking for a way to exert control over your affairs even after your demise, you should get started on the will creation process. What do we mean by this? Well, the will facilitates the creation of an education trust which you will need to protect and accumulate your assets.
The best part about this is that you ensure that your children get the best education and that they are set for life. You could also create other types of trusts like the pet trust for the care of your beloved trust, the dynasty trust that keeps the assets in your family or a disclaimer trust that protect the assets of your spouse. Other trusts you could create include the special needs trusts and the credit shelter trust.
But, that is not all that you can do: with a free last will and testament in Wisconsin, you get to devise ways of dealing with asset inheritance in blended families or what happens after you remarry.
At the same time, the last will lets you name an executor of your estate. The role of the executor is to manage your estate by paying off debts, taxes, and bills, as well as the distribution of your assets as per your wishes.
You could also use this document to name the guardian for your children should anything happen to you. The will makes that godparent role official.
Taking all these benefits into consideration, it makes sense to create a will early in life, right? Unfortunately, that is not what happens, and most people die without any guidelines on what should happen to their estates. In such cases, the state sweeps. The sad bit is that the estate knows nothing about the things you said, and it will rule the way it knows best with no regard to your wishes.
These are the laws that are effectuated if a person dies without a written will. In Wisconsin, the following things happen:
The surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate left by the decedent, even when the couple shared kids. On the other hand, if you leave behind one or more kids from a different relationship, then your surviving spouse will inherit one half of the estate (separate property), and the children will inherit your community property and what remains from the separate property.
And if you do not leave behind any kids, surviving spouse, or parents, your siblings, and grandparents will be awarded your estate. Basically, the persons closest to you in your bloodline are first in line in receiving your inheritance.
Property exempted from distribution
- Marital property under a survivorship
- Proceeds from your retirement accounts or life insurance policy
- Property under joint tenancy and with survivorship rights
- Any assets held in the irrevocable living trust
What makes the last will valid?
Before the executor manages and distributes your assets, he or she has to present the will to the probate court where the will goes through a validation process. The probate -refers to the court-supervised process created to oversee the distribution of the assets of a deceased person. The probate process in Wisconsin could be informal, formal, or special. In the formal process, the process is court-monitored while the informal process may or may not be court-supervised. Under the special probate process, the size of the estate distributed is small, and the process includes an affidavit for estates worth a maximum of ,000.
So, what should you do for the courts to approve your will?
As per the statutory provisions highlighted in code section 853.01, et seq., the testator (person creating the will) must be of sound mind and aged 18 years or older. The testator has to sign the will in the presence of two or more adult witnesses. And if you cannot sign it, you have to ask someone else to sign the will as per your explicit directions and in your presence. The role of the witnesses here is to affirm that you willingly let that person sign the last will for you.
The will must be in writing, and you have to name all the beneficiaries of your estate.
Changing the will
You can change the will at any time using a codicil to be executed in the same manner as the original will.
Revoking the will
You could revoke your will wherever by executing a subsequent last will and testament or destroying the will.
Would you like to create a last will in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Appleton or any other city in Wisconsin? Get started with our free last will and testament form today.