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Wills: A Comprehensive Guide for Shorewood, Wisconsin Residents

Creating a will is an essential aspect of estate planning that ensures your wishes are carried out after your death. This comprehensive guide will explore the importance of wills and the process involved in creating one in Shorewood, Wisconsin.

Heritage Law Office specializes in estate planning and provides a range of services, including will preparation. Contact our experienced attorneys either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation today.

What is a Will and Why is it Important in Shorewood, Wisconsin?

A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death. It also allows you to name a guardian for your minor children and an executor to manage your estate.

Benefits of Having a Will

  1. Control over asset distribution
  2. Appointment of guardians for minor children
  3. Minimized potential for family disputes
  4. Reduction in probate time and costs

Types of Wills in Wisconsin

There are several types of wills recognized in Wisconsin:

Simple Wills

A simple will outlines the distribution of your assets and names an executor to administer your estate.

Testamentary Trust Wills

A testamentary trust will creates a trust upon your death, providing ongoing management of assets for your beneficiaries.

Pour-Over Wills

A pour-over will transfers your assets into an existing trust upon your death, ensuring that all assets are managed according to the trust's terms.

Holographic Wills

A holographic will is handwritten and signed by the testator, but it is not recognized as a valid will in Wisconsin.

Nuncupative Wills

A nuncupative will is an oral declaration made in the presence of witnesses. However, Wisconsin law does not recognize nuncupative wills.

Requirements for a Valid Will in Wisconsin

To create a valid will in Wisconsin, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Be of sound mind
  3. Sign the will in the presence of two witnesses
  4. Have the witnesses sign the will

The Process of Creating a Will in Shorewood, Wisconsin

  1. Inventory your assets
  2. Choose your beneficiaries
  3. Select an executor
  4. Name a guardian for minor children
  5. Draft the will with the help of an experienced attorney
  6. Sign the will in the presence of witnesses
  7. Store the will in a safe place

Updating Your Will

Life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or significant changes in financial circumstances may require you to update your will. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure your will remains current and reflective of your wishes.

The Probate Process in Wisconsin

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. The process involves proving the validity of the will, paying debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the probate process and ensure your interests are protected.

Contact a Wills Attorney in Shorewood, Wisconsin

For assistance with wills and estate planning, contact our experienced attorneys at Heritage Law Office by using the online form or calling us directly at 414-253-8500. We are dedicated to helping you create a comprehensive estate plan that safeguards your assets and provides for your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between a simple will and a testamentary trust will?

A simple will outlines how your assets will be distributed upon your death and designates an executor to administer your estate. A testamentary trust will, on the other hand, creates a trust upon your death. This trust will provide ongoing management and protection of assets for your beneficiaries, which can be especially useful if they are minors or individuals who might not manage the assets wisely.

2. Why does Wisconsin law not recognize holographic and nuncupative wills?

Holographic (handwritten) and nuncupative (oral) wills are typically not witnessed in the formal manner required by Wisconsin law. Because of the potential for fraud and disputes, Wisconsin insists on strict compliance with formal requirements to ensure the authenticity of a will. These requirements include having the will signed by the testator and two competent witnesses.

3. When should I consider updating my will?

Significant life events such as a marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, a death in the family, or substantial changes in your financial circumstances typically warrant a review and potential update of your will. It's crucial to consult with an attorney to ensure that your will remains current and accurately reflects your wishes.

4. What is the probate process in Wisconsin, and how long does it typically take?

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's estate is properly distributed to heirs and designated beneficiaries and any debt owed to creditors is paid off. It begins when the executor presents the will for probate in a county court. The time it takes can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and whether anyone contests the will. On average, probate in Wisconsin can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years.

5. How can an attorney assist in the process of creating and executing a will?

Creating a will involves a detailed understanding of state laws and careful consideration of your assets and how you want them distributed. An attorney can help guide you through the process, ensuring that your will complies with Wisconsin law and accurately represents your wishes. In executing a will, an attorney can assist the executor in navigating the probate process, dealing with potential disputes, and ensuring that assets are distributed according to the will.

Contact Us Today

For a comprehensive plan that will meet your needs or the needs of a loved one, contact us today. Located in Downtown Milwaukee, we serve Milwaukee County, surrounding communities, and to clients across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.