top of page

Do You Have to File a Will in Wisconsin?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question: Do you have to file a Will in Wisconsin?

Attorney Burton answers the reader's question and discusses the relevant Wisconsin statutes and deadlines that apply. Want to know what type of estate planning documents are best for your situation? Download a free copy of my easy estate planning guide.

Transcript of Video: Do You Have to File a Will in Wisconsin?

Hello I'm Attorney Thomas Burton and

today's question

is the following do you have to file a


in Wisconsin so great question

and there's a couple answers to this I’m

not sure

if you're asking about filing a will

after you sign it because there is a

process in Wisconsin where you can file

a will with the register in probate in

the county in which you reside

after you validly create and sign a will

and you can do that in any county in


where you live again with the register in

probate and generally I think it's about

a fifteen dollar

fee to file the will for safekeeping

with them so if that's what you're

asking about filing the will

the answer is no you don't have to do

this but you can

now I often caution clients who ask me

about doing this

I think this is an okay method

if you have no safe place to store it at


and if you expect this to be the last

will you ever

create but for younger clients what I’ve

seen happen

is they file a will and then they change

the will later

update it and they forget to change that

copy on file with the register in


so it just depends on how organized you are if

you're later in life

and this again is your last will and you


want that peace of mind for safe keeping

maybe you want to go ahead and do that

but I've also had another client who

moved from a county

way in northern Wisconsin to a county in

southern Wisconsin

but then remember they had filed the old

will up in the northern county

and so now they live in a different

county and are likely not

to reside in that northern county when

they die

and generally the probate for your

estate is in the county where you reside

when you die

so having that will up in northern

Wisconsin didn't really make sense


now each register in probate has a

process to

ask for the will back sometimes you have

to sign

send a letter or a notarized statement

check with them but again

in general I tell people to keep their

estate planning documents their will

in a fireproof box in their home and

tell their personal representative

where to find it and how to access it


keep it in a safe deposit box but again

you want to make sure

your personal representative has access

to the box

after your death otherwise they're not

going to be able to get the will after

you die

but in general to go back to your


do you have to file a will in Wisconsin


you don't have to file it with any

government agency it's a private


until you die then after you die

your personal representative has a duty

to file it with the register and probate

in the county

in which you lived with when you died

and the statutes say they have 30 days

to file it after your death

if they know about the will so sometimes

they can't locate the will

well then they try to find it and then

file it

but in general while you're alive you

don't have to file a will with anyone

in Wisconsin so great question and thank

you for asking.

© 2020 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired.

For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.

43 views0 comments


bottom of page