Attorney Thomas B. Burton discusses how to make a Will in 2021. Wills are an essential part of Estate Planning and knowing how to properly make one will surely help you get your estate plan in order in the new year. In this short video, Attorney Burton goes over the up to date requirements for making a Will and discusses how you can meet each element in order to make your own legally valid Last Will and Testament in Wisconsin.
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Welcome, I'm attorney Thomas Burton and today's topic is "How to legally make a Will in 2021."
So the start of the new year is a great time to think about your estate planning and I find in my estate planning practice, many people put it on their to-do list to get an estate plan done at the start of the new year.
In today's video, I'm going to talk about what you need to do to legally make a will in 2021. Basically there's two options you have moving forward; one you can make your own will using the state of Wisconsin will form or an online will making service or some other form you find. So one is a do-it-yourself option. The other option is to work with an estate planning attorney like me, to put an estate plan in place. I always recommend working with an attorney when you are able. However if you are unable to afford an attorney or unable to meet with one right now, then I recommend you look at using the state of Wisconsin basic will statutory, basic will form which is designed for very simple situations and in this form it talks about the situations where it shouldn't be used but I'm going to refer you to my video - "How to make a will for free in Wisconsin", I'll put a link in this video, that's a complete overview where I walk you through this form step by step as if I were filling it out myself. So that's one option do it yourself, the other option is work with an attorney, an estate planning attorney like me or someone else in Wisconsin or whatever state you're located in, you need to find an attorney licensed in your state and the terms of making a will, the basics of making a will are not too complex.
Today I'm going to run through the elements you need to have a valid will and this will be in Wisconsin where I'm licensed to practice. Check with an attorney licensed in your state about the requirements in your state but many of them are going to be similar.
Number one, you have to be age 18+, that's the age of an adult in Wisconsin to make a will. You need to have what we call, 'sound mind' and this is a test in the statutes and the case law, you need to know the objects of your bounty, generally what you possess and what you want to do with it and in Wisconsin, the will has to be in writing. No oral wills and no handwritten wills. Some states allow what they call a handwritten or holographic will but that's not allowed in Wisconsin, here it must generally be typed.
Then once your wishes are put into the will, you need to, a signature in order for it to be valid and that's your signature, the person making the will. The testator needs to sign the will and it needs to be signed in front of two disinterested witnesses, meaning two witnesses who are not related by blood or marriage and are not named in the will to receive something in the will. The best bet is generally friends or neighbors who are not in the will at all or witnesses at your attorney's office who are not related or named in the will and you can see Wisconsin statute chapter 853, for more details on the requirements of what's legally required to make the will.
So today I wanted to do a quick overview of the factors required but basically if you're age 18, you have the will in writing and it expresses your wishes and then you sign it properly in front of the witnesses, you can have a valid will made in 2021, in the state of Wisconsin and again most states follow similar procedure for making a will but sometimes the specific requirements are slightly different. So check the statutes in your state to be sure.
So again the start of the new year is a great time to get your affairs in order. It's a great time to think about what you want to happen to your assets in the state after you're gone and just as a reminder a will in Wisconsin will let the court know who you want to name as personal representative, what we call the executor in Wisconsin and will let you name beneficiaries for your estate, however it will not avoid probate. If you want to avoid probate, provide for incapacity protection and other things, I recommend you look at a trust-based plan.
So I hope this video has been helpful to you. If it has, consider giving it a like and subscribe to our channel for more, so more people can see and benefit from these videos as well.
Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.
© 2021 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.