We know we are constantly touting the merits of having an estate plan, but what happens when you don’t have one in place. If you’re married, with an estate plan will your assets go to your spouse in Wisconsin? We hear this all the time as a defense against estate planning, not only is this logic flawed, but it’s not always true. Collins Law can help walk you through what could happen.

Husband and wife on a tropical beach

When Do Assets Not go to the Spouse in Wisconsin

The law is different in every state, and there are a couple of circumstances in which your assets would not just default to your spouse when you die. Just remember, that if you die without an estate plan, you fall into the one-size-fits-all letter of the law.

When You Have Children From a Previous Marriage

Woman sitting on the floor figuring stuff out

If you only have children with your current spouse, then your estate will go to your spouse with nothing going to your children. However, if you have children from a previous marriage, the rules change.

In this case, your spouse will receive half of your estate with your children from the previous marriage. This does not include your home. Even if this is essentially what you want to happen, it’s the courts—and not you or your spouse—that will decide how those assets will be distributed.

When You Both Die

Unfortunately, this is something you have to consider. Often when people die unexpectedly, it’s due to an accident, and often husbands and wives are with each other when an accident happens. Spouses dying at the same time is unfortunate and common. When this happens without an estate plan your estate will go to your next of kin. This will be your adult children, parents, siblings, descendants of siblings, grandparents, or descendants of grandparents. If no next of kin can be found, then your estate will go to Wisconsin’s school fund.

Read More: Can Minor Children Inherit in Wisconsin?

When There’s an Estate Plan

What if you don’t want everything to go to your spouse? It’s uncommon, but there are many reasons why you may not want your spouse to inherit everything. Some assets might be best left in the care of someone else or perhaps you need to ensure the care of a child, dependent, or other beneficiaries. Every family dynamic and every situation is unique which is why estate planning is so important.


What Type of Will Should a Married Couple Have?

Building an Estate Plan With Collins Law Near Milwaukee

Did we convince you this time? An estate plan is a great idea for anyone. If you are over 18, then you can and should build an estate plan. Collins Law is based in Wauwatosa making it easy for us to serve all the surrounding communities in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. We can build you an estate plan that fits your specific needs.


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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.

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