Confronting end-of-life affairs is never an easy subject to approach, not to mention the legal complexities surrounding estate planning and writing a will. But, like many people, you likely want a document that honors your final wishes while giving your survivors a roadmap to help them close out your estate correctly. In this article, Wisconsin estate planning attorney Alyssa Wilson discusses why you may want to consider working with a legal professional versus going it alone, the benefits of writing a will with a lawyer, and how you can turn to Wynn at Law, LLC for legal advice.
Wisconsin Laws for Writing my Will
The laws surrounding the drafting of wills in Wisconsin fall under WI Stat. § 853. They address several issues, including witnesses, signing requirements, beneficiary designations, and more. However, our state’s laws are complex, meaning that you should hire an attorney to help you navigate them without feeling like you are left in the dark. Below, Wynn at Law, LLC explains several Wisconsin laws that everyone should know when writing their will:
Execution of Wills
Under Wisconsin law, there are specific provisions to follow when signing your will. First, it must be signed by you and only you. The only exception is if you consent to someone else under specific legal circumstances, and they sign it in your presence. You are also required to have two disinterested witnesses present at your signing of the will. While you can bring along whomever you choose, it cannot be someone named in your will. If you are not sure who to bring, your attorney will provide witnesses for you.
You are able to amend or revoke your will at any time, provided you are of sound mind to do so. This means that you can change your final wishes whenever your life or circumstances change. The lawyer who initially drafted your will can also help you navigate this process while explaining your legal rights and options.
Wisconsin law also outlines the requirements of using witnesses. Witnesses are vital since they legally “prove” the will. Imagine how easy it would be to challenge a will if no one saw it happen! The witnesses must be competent and disinterested. Additionally, the witnesses cannot be your heirs, or a beneficiary named in the will as designated by law. Witnesses make it harder for someone to challenge your will during probate. One of the many benefits of hiring an attorney to assist with your estate planning is that he or she will provide the witnesses for your will signing.
What Happens if I Don’t Write my Will?
If you don’t write your will and pass away, Wisconsin probate laws say you have died intestate. As such, default probate rules will apply. Essentially, a probate judge will appoint a personal representative and make decisions that they feel are in the estate’s best interests. Writing your will is incredibly beneficial for your loved ones. Not only does it provide you with peace of mind that things will be taken care of in the future, but it also saves your loved ones added stress after you pass. It’s critical that you have the proper estate planning documents in place to address unintended legal consequences after your death. Doing so can facilitate harmony by and among your already-grieving family members while reducing the potential for a disputed will. If you have more questions about the estate planning process, you can also check out our Legal FAQs here.
How can a Lawyer be Beneficial in Writing my Will?
The alternatives cannot match the reassurance that only a Wisconsin estate planning attorney provides. Attorney Alyssa Wilson can draft a will that encompasses all of your wishes and is executed properly. In addition, you can count on our legal team to stand by your side for every amendment or legal issue that arises.
Getting the Right Documents
Many people have legal needs that exceed what a will provides. If you need additional protection, such as a power of attorney, living will, pour-over will, or living trust (aka your estate planning toolkit), Wynn At Law, LLC can help you discuss those options as well.
How to Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer in Wisconsin
Accuracy and efficiency are not the only benefits of writing a will with a lawyer. Wynn At Law, LLC makes the estate planning process straightforward for our clients:
- Step 1. Schedule a consultation
- Step 2. Bring your financial records
- Step 3. Discuss your legal options
- Step 4. Draft and review your documents
- Step 5. Sign your will
Let Wynn at Law, LLC Help You Execute Your Will
Whether you are tackling your estate plan for the first time or if you are looking to make updates, you don’t have to go through it alone. Wynn at Law, LLC’s attorneys will review your situation and provide you with practical legal advice as to what estate plan will best suit your needs. Our objective is to help you move forward with a solid legal plan after your passing. Contact us today for a consultation at 262-725-0175 or our website’s contact page. Wynn at Law, LLC is based in Southern Wisconsin and has three office locations: Lake Geneva, Delavan, and Salem.