Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question: How Can You Avoid Probate of an Estate in Wisconsin? Attorney Burton discusses the different methods to avoid probate in the state of Wisconsin and discusses why a Will alone is not enough to avoid probate completely.
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Transcript of Video: How Can You Avoid Probate of an Estate in Wisconsin?
Today's question is the following how can you avoid probate of an estate in
Wisconsin so this is a good question many people want to avoid probate for
good reason probate is the court administered
process that your estate goes through after death if you have a created a will
during a lifetime or if you have created no will at all you died what we call
intestate meaning without a will then your estate by definition must go through
the probate court process to get to your heirs now as many people know the courts
are overburdened and busy with criminal and other civil matters they do not
really want to deal with probate court matters but if you fail to plan that is
the last option so they will deal with it so you the best way to avoid probate
or as you're asking in this question how can you avoid probate of an estate in
Wisconsin is to plan ahead there's several ways you can avoid probate on
assets if they're financial accounts or other assets you can often use
beneficiary designations and name a transfer on death beneficiary upon your
death for personal property you can use a trust and assign all of your personal
property to the trust and avoid probate upon death same thing with real estate
you can transfer your real estate during life to a trust and avoid probate upon
your death I sometimes tell clients to think about trusts this way a trust is
like a corporation you set up during your lifetime most people can think of
this a Walmart or a Target they go on regardless of who the CEO is and if the
CEO dies right because a corporation has a lifetime that exceeds any one person
well if you set up a trust it's like setting up a special set of rules just
for your personal assets that trust can outlive you distribute
those assets and then go away now there's many different types of trust
but the most commonly used one for estate planning is a revocable living
trust and we set this up as a planning tool to avoid probate upon your death
there's other ways to avoid probate on lots of assets such as jointly titling
assets you can hold them jointly with a spouse or other individual and
things like that now with a spouse I do recommend this as a way to avoid
probate if you're not married to the person talk to your attorney in terms of
whether it's a good idea to co-own real estate and other assets with someone so
in general this is a great question how to avoid probate on an estate in
Wisconsin as a reminder any estate in excess of $50,000 is going to have to go
through a formal probate in Wisconsin if you die so examine your probate assets
and if you have above that amount I recommend you talk with an attorney
about setting up a plan to avoid probate upon your death because in my experience
when clients come into my office if they have gone through a probate for a friend
or loved one they often tell me I don't ever want to go through that again
mainly because it involves government and the court process and usually from 8 to
12 forms you got to fill out just to get it started and for most people it feels
like a big pain and a lot of paperwork not to mention the costs to get the
assets to whomever the loved one that died desired so a great question and
thank you for asking!
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