Are you worried about probate for your estate? We understand that. At Collins Law, we handle estate planning for many of our clients. Is probate required in Wisconsin? Let’s take a look at the letter of the law to help you navigate probate, when it happens, and how you can avoid it if you want to.
What is Probate?
Yes, it may seem like a bit of an elementary question, but a lot of people don’t know what probate actually is. Probate is a court-driven process where a will is proved by law and accepted as a valid public document.
In the event that there is no will, the estate will be settled through the probate process according to state law where the resident resided at the time of death. It’s worth noting that probate is a little different in each state.
Do All Estates Go Through Probate in Wisconsin?
Many estates do pass through probate, but certainly not all. For the most part, it isn’t up to your wishes or even your beneficiaries’ wishes if your estate goes through probate or not. If your estate is worth over $50,000, then it will go through probate whether you have a will or not. If you are without a will, then it will also go through probate. There’s even a chance that your estate that’s worth less than $50,000 and has a will but still goes through probate if your benefices disagree on how assets should be distributed.
In other words, though not all estates pass through probate, all estates can pass through probate if the conditions are right. What if you want a sure way for your assets to go where you want them to and for them to avoid probate? That’s where a living trust comes in.
Can a Living Trust Avoid Wisconsin Probate?
We love setting people up with living trust at Collins Law because they make things a lot simpler. If you have assets that you want to go to certain people or places, and you don’t need to touch those assets often, then a living trust is a great idea.
It won’t mean that you necessarily avoid probate. You’ll likely have assets, not in the living trust, and those assets will still be subject to the same probate possibilities that we mentioned above. However, it can ensure that the bulk of your assets or any assets that you deem particularly important go exactly where you want them to go and in a timely manner.
Why do People Want to Avoid Probate?
Some want to avoid probate because they don’t fully understand it. Probate courts get a bad reputation because of their nature. Often, assets going to probate work out just fine. Probate does take money out of the estate as well, but what makes many decide to go with a living trust is that they want a faster distribution of assets and to avoid potential issues with a will. The choice is yours, but one thing is certain, you definitely want to do some estate planning whether it’s a living trust or a will.
Estate Planning Services at Collins Law
Collins Law is a full-service estate planning law firm. It isn’t something we do on the side, like many other law firms. Instead, it is our focus. We do it all from living trusts and wills to powers of attorney and more. We even offer a maintenance plan for your estate plan to help you stay on top of things. Our firm is located in Wauwatosa where we provide services to the entire Milwaukee area.