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Wisconsin Wills and Trusts Frequently Asked Questions

The two main estate planning tools are wills and trusts. The Leitner Law Office answers common questions that people often ask about Wisconsin wills and Wisconsin living trusts:

Discuss Madison wills and trusts and plan your family’s future

At Leitner Law Office, we offer a free consultation with a Wisconsin wills attorney to help you decide whether to form a trust or write a will. Find out how to best preserve your wealth and carry out your wishes. Call (608) 836-0259 today or contact Leitner Law Office, LLP online.

What is a will?

A will (called a last will and testament) is a legal document that designates beneficiaries after death. A will can also designate a guardian for minor children, name an executor, and provide instructions on how assets must be distributed. Wisconsin wills must be in writing, and the State of Wisconsin usually does not recognize holographic wills, which are wills handwritten by the testator (the person writing the will).

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What is a living trust?

A trust is a legal instrument that holds assets or property during your life—even if you become incapacitated—and it continues to hold your assets after death. With a revocable living trust, you can make changes while alive and terminate the trust if you so choose. However, with an irrevocable living trust, changes either cannot be made or are nearly impossible to make. An irrevocable living trust offers certain tax advantages that a revocable living trust does not. Many different types of trusts exist which have specialized purposes.

What advantages does a will have over a trust?

  • Less initial expense to devise
  • More inclusive of assets
  • Less maintenance and fees required
  • No need to continuously fund it with assets

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What advantages does a trust have over a will?

  • Avoiding probate and probate expenses
  • Keeping financial estate matters private and not part of public record
  • More difficult to contest than a will
  • Disbursing assets more quickly
  • Using family members as trustees

How can I make sure all assets are covered?

A pour-over will funds the trust after you die with property that was not included in the trust when you were alive. It helps to avoid inadvertently leaving property out of your trust.

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