If you want to secure your legacy for future generations, then estate planning can help with the process. However, not everyone wants to proceed through probate. This legal proceeding can be expensive, time-consuming, and very public. Fortunately, a trust might be the answer to avoiding any probate issues. If you would like to learn more about whether you can avoid probate in Wisconsin, here are a few things to know.
Wisconsin Probate Process
In the state of Wisconsin, some estates will have to go through the probate process. During this time, the courts will:
- Validate the will
- Appoint an executor
- Identify assets
- Settle debts
- Distribute assets
Along with being costly and lengthy, it is a very public process. Details of the person’s estate become public records, including the value of the assets and the names of beneficiaries.
Keep in mind that not all assets must pass through probate. Jointly owned property, life insurance policies with named beneficiaries, and retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries can pass directly to heirs without court supervision.
Real estate, bank accounts, and other property assets tend to go through probate. But, there is one way to avoid these proceedings: setting up a trust.
Why a Trust May Be the Answer
For those who want to set up a revocable or irrevocable trust, they will avoid the probate process. With that, beneficiaries can avoid all the delays associated with the probate process.
There are two common types of trusts: revocable or irrevocable. A revocable living trust allows an individual (grantor) to transfer assets to a separate entity managed by a trustee. During the grantor’s lifetime, they keep control of their assets. Plus, they can make changes or revoke the trust. After their death, the trust becomes irrevocable. In turn, the assets will be transferred to the beneficiaries without probate.
An irrevocable trust is a little different. While a grantor can change terms or revoke at any time, that is not possible with an irrevocable trust. Some changes could be made, but they must happen under specific circumstances and with the approval of the beneficiaries.
Unlike probate, the terms of a trust are kept private. Anyone wanting a more confidential process will want to establish a trust. A revocable or irrevocable trust provides a more discreet transfer of wealth to beneficiaries without public scrutiny.
There are many reasons why someone would not want their estate to go through probate. This process is very expensive, lengthy, and public. If you are considering a trust, you will want to reach out to an experienced estate planning lawyer. Several options are available in Wisconsin, each with its own benefits and disadvantages. With their assistance, you can find one that meets your estate needs.
Learn More About Avoiding Probate in Wisconsin
If you want to set up a trust and avoid probate in Wisconsin, the Collins Law Firm can assist with estate planning, estate administration, business law, and elder law services. We proudly serve Southeastern Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area.
Our estate planning legal team can help you build and fight to protect your legacy. Contact us or call (414) 207-6292. Schedule your free and confidential consultation today!