Attorney Stephen Kosa welcomes the opportunity to assist you with the preparation and planning of your Last Will & Testament. It is recommended that an attorney be consulted to ensure that your Will complies with all applicable laws, and that it is properly executed.
Purpose and Planning of a Will
A Will is a legal written document that allows you to make important decisions and designations that become effective upon your death. The following are just a few of the things that your Will can address:
- Who will raise and care for your minor children?
- Who will receive your property and assets?
- Will your beneficiaries receive their inheritance outright upon your death, or will the assets be held and managed in a trust for their benefit, to be distributed at certain ages or upon the happening of an event or contingency?
- Who will serve as your personal representative to assist in the administration of your estate during the probate process?
Who Should have a Will?
Every adult should have a Will. When it comes time to make distribution of your property and assets, a properly executed Will can help avoid disputes among surviving family members, their spouses, children and step-children. Such disputes and controversies are more common than we would like to believe, even when dealing with assets of relatively little value. Therefore, it’s important to address these matters in a properly drafted and executed Will.
What Happens if I don’t have a Will
When a person dies without a Will they die “intestate”, and the laws of intestacy apply to the disposition of their property and assets. The laws of intestacy in Wisconsin set forth the hierarchy of relatives who receive the property and assets of a person who dies without a Will. These very well may not be the same individuals the decedent would have intended to receive such property. Furthermore, if the decedent died leaving no living relatives that qualify under the statutory hierarchy, the property and assets will escheat to the State of Wisconsin. Therefore, to ensure that your intentions are honored, a Will is an important component to any estate plan, no matter how simple.
Due to the important nature of a Will, and the fact that the decedent is no longer alive to explain the document or give direction, courts generally seek to honor the intentions of a decedent and uphold the Will, unless it is contrary to the law or it can be shown that the decedent was incompetent or under duress when the Will was executed.