Everyone is entitled to a little privacy. Unfortunately, that’s not always true upon death. If celebrity deaths are any indication, almost the moment you leave this earth, everything in your will seems to be available for anyone to read. Maybe a living trust is the answer. Learn how a living trust preserves your privacy in Wisconsin.
Are Wills Public in Wisconsin?
In most states, wills become public after death, and Wisconsin is no different. Even if your estate is small enough to avoid probate in Wisconsin, your original will has to be filed with the Register in Probate within 30 days of death, and that will document will be made available in the public record.
There are many reasons why wills become public record, and part of it is to ensure that everyone who is meant to inherit will get the chance to inherit and some of it is a holdover from a time when communication, especially over long distances was more difficult.
What if You Don’t Want Your Will to be Public?
Why would you not want your will to be public? There are all sorts of reasons. The most common reason is to protect your beneficiaries. If the people you love come into money, it doesn’t need to be everyone’s knowledge.
You may have your own reasons too, but unfortunately every will in Wisconsin—and most other states—will be made public knowledge shortly after your death. Why should it be anyone else’s business what you possess and how you distribute it upon your death? If only there was a better way.
Are Living Trusts Public Record?
There are a lot of reasons why living trusts became such a staple of estate planning, and privacy is one of them. A trust is established before your death, as such, they don’t need to pass through probate and they don’t need to become a matter of public record either.
Can a Trust Ever Enter the Public Record
If you want to get technical, there are ways that a trust can enter the public record despite your wishes. The main way this happens is through a lawsuit. If a relative becomes unhappy with your trust or how your trust is being executed, they could sue, and if the case makes it into the courtroom, then the trust will become part of the public record.
Another aspect that you should think about is that real estate is always a matter of public record. If you don’t want anyone to know who you gave your house to, then you are out of luck because it doesn’t take much effort to find that out.
Setting Up a Living Trust in Southeastern WI
If you need a living trust in Southeastern Wisconsin, then you can count on the estate planning experts at Collins Law. We have years of experience planning estates and we can help you navigate your options including setting up a living trust. Contact us for a free consultation today!
Nothing posted on this website is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and site content are available for general education purposes only.