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Wisconsin Estate Planning Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Wisconsin on

Q: what are the risks to using probate rather than a trust in florida?

My great aunt just passed (she lived and drafted her documents in Florida). her attorney is advising using probate rather than the trust. why do this? what's the point of doing a trust then?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Jun 12, 2019

If your Aunt has a properly set up Trust, then the best way to avoid probate is often to have the assets pass through the Trust. I do not know the specifics of this situation, but it is possible that your Aunt set up the Trust but did not properly fund the trust (meaning she didn't transfer her... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: We have a cabin & have 2 sons. We want to give one son 1/2 of what the cabin is worth. Say it's worth $150,000.

We would give the one son $75,000. Say when we die the one that has the cabin wants to sell. He would be pocketing $150,000. We realized the other son only got $75,000. This is not right though. So would we write up that the one son that got the cash would get another $37,500? Which would then be... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton answered on May 28, 2019

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If I understand correctly you want to gift $75,000 in cash to one son today. Instead of cash, you plan to leave the other son your cabin at death. You could order an appraisal of the cabin now and figure out what it is worth. If it is worth exactly... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: My father passed away and I am the sole heir, his girlfriend lives in his house for 5 years and does not pay rent.

Can I change the locks on his garages while we try to get her out of the house?

Thomas B. Burton answered on May 21, 2019

You should see if your father executed a Will before he died. If he had a Will, this document will state what was to happen to his assets and should name a Personal Representative in charge of the Estate. Your Father's house is now owned by his Estate, and unless his Will stated that his girlfriend... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Limited power of attorney was not signed exactly as the name was printed. Will it still be valid/accepted?

The name listed at the top of the document is First, middle, last name. However, it was signed as First name, middle initial (only, not whole middle name) and last name. I also have a copy of his drivers license in his whole name, but with the signature the same as on POA: First, MI, Last name, to... Read more »

Akin Williams answered on May 6, 2019

Powers of attorney are very strictly construed.

The power of attorney you refer to, may well be rejected on the basis that there is a discrepancy in the name of the donee as it is not identical with the name stated on the Power of Attorney.

In addition to the proof of ID which you...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Wisconsin on

Q: As a beneficiary of my recently deceased parents, how can I obtain a copy of their initial Will, which was drawn up by

an attorney many years ago? Last August, 2018, it was then revised, of which I did receive a copy (of that revised one).

Thomas B. Burton answered on Apr 17, 2019

The old Will was likely revoked when they executed the new Will. You can only have one Will at a time, so when you execute a new Will you usually include specific language revoking the old Will. The other way to revoke a Will is by physically destroying it. It is possible your parents shredded or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Wisconsin on

Q: How do I file to become a Personal Representative for my deceased Uncle’s assests. He lived in West Allis, WI

He died in February and left no Will. He owned a home and has a checking and money market account, that we have no access to.

Thomas B. Burton answered on Apr 1, 2019

Hello, I am sorry to hear about your Uncle's passing. If you want to become appointed as Personal Representative of his Estate, you will need to file an Application for Informal Administration, or an Application for Formal Administration to Open the Probate, as well as a Consent to Serve Form,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Wisconsin on

Q: My father is buried in a dbl plot. My mother just passed and was cremated. We have the will with her wishes

Can daughter bury urn herself into the ground?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 5, 2019

I would check with the person in charge of the Cemetery to see if they have any rules about who is allowed to bury the ashes. Generally, I have had other clients say they were allowed to bury an urn in a burial plot they own. It sounds like your father has a double plot so he should be able to do... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Wisconsin on

Q: My Mother had left me 50% of her home, but was sold for her care.

my mother inherited $140,000 while in care, am I left now with nothing.

Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 13, 2018

Hello, I am sorry to hear about your situation. This sounds like a situation where perhaps your Mother was receiving Medicaid assistance to pay for her long-term care? There are not enough details here to answer your question fully, but if your Mother left you 50% of her home in her Will (let's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Will my American will still be valid if my spouse and I pass away while living abroad?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 28, 2018

Yes, your Will will still be valid in the United States if you should pass away while living abroad. As long as you are a United States Citizen and maintain residency in one of the 50 States in the United States, then the laws of the state where you have established domicile should govern and your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Can a irrevocable trust be used by a legal guardian of parent in nursing home?

Worried that they will use it for their own benefit.

Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 3, 2018

If your question is whether the legal guardian can access the trust funds, it depends on whether the legal guardian is also the person named as trustee in the trust. If they are named as trustee then they will have the power to access and manage the trust funds for the benefit of the trust... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Why would anyone use an irrevocable trust as part of their estate plan?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Sep 25, 2018

There are many reasons to use an irrevocable trust, but here are two quick ones. One, an irrevocable trust can be used to remove assets from your taxable estate, so if you have an estate that exceeds the current estate tax exemption levels ($11.18 million per person) you may want to use an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: is a person listed on a affidavit responsible for anything when they sell everything and give all the money to her

brother life partner.ex taxes

Thomas B. Burton answered on Sep 5, 2018

I am not sure I understand your question. Are you referring to the Transfer by Affidavit used for probate estates worth $50,000 or less in Wisconsin? If so, the person who completes this Affidavit is swearing to collect the property and assume a duty to transfer the property according to the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Does the executor of an estate get paid for their work?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Aug 22, 2018

Yes, in Wisconsin we call the Executor of an Estate under a Will a "Personal Representative" and the Personal Representative is entitled to 2% of the inventory value of the property for which the personal representative is responsible, less any mortgages or liens plus net principal gains for their... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Im searching for an attorney to do my living will i am on a fixed income.

Bryan Thomas Kroes answered on Aug 9, 2018

A living will is an excellent addition to any estate plan. It is a good idea to consult an experienced attorney to assist you with that process.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: What kind of trust is best for me if I am remarried after a divorce and have adult children?

Thomas B. Burton answered on Aug 4, 2018

A revocable living trust will provide a variety of good options for you. You could structure your trust so that after you pass your assets provide income for life to your current spouse, with the principal passing to your children upon your surviving spouse's death. You could also provide your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: Is a handwritten, signed, dated, non notarized change on a revocable trust legal in WI? This cut out 1 of the 5 children

My wife is the co-executor (along with her stepsister) of her stepmothers trust. She made this amendment 1 year before her death and told both of the executors verbally. She had intentions of going to a lawyer to finalize this but never made it. She also included justification for this change... Read more »

Michael Hales answered on Jun 29, 2018

I'm a little confused with some of the facts here, but I can answer any questions you have about the timeshare matter. I recently wrote an article about legal options regarding timeshares that you can access here: https://www.targheelaw.com/article

If you have any questions about that...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: How can an affidavit be filed if there was a will.

I'm the PR on the will but I'm not an heir. The person that passes didn't name her child on the will because she did not want her on the will but the heir filed an affidavit. Will she get what she is asking for?

Sarah Lynn Ruffi answered on Apr 23, 2018

The Will would need to be filed with the Probate Court in the county where the decedent last resided. The child would then need to challenge the Will and argue to the Court why the Will should not be deemed valid.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Wisconsin on

Q: My son at just 41 years old passed on. He was living with a woman but not married. As his mother I am next of kin.

How do I access his belongings? He also has two precious children. What are my grandparent rights?

Thank you kindly for your time,

Sarah Lynn Ruffi answered on Apr 23, 2018

Sorry for your loss. His children are his beneficiaries and legal heirs. The children are the ones who would receive your son's assets and belongings.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Wisconsin on

Q: If your Mother is in a nursing home and she inherits $100,000. Who gets the money...nursing home or remaining children?

The mother has a bad case of Alzheimer's.

Sarah Lynn Ruffi answered on Apr 23, 2018

Since Mother has Alzheimer's, she should have a financial power of attorney (would need to have been signed prior to the Alzheimer's diagnosis) or a guardian appointed by the courts (if no power of attorney). The person in charge of Mother's money (Power of Attorney or Guardian) should be the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Elder Law and Estate Planning for Wisconsin on

Q: What is the best way for an adult child to buy her mother's house? Mother is in assisted living, house is paid off.

Are there ways to make this purchase while protecting the mother's assets? Alternative financing? Not using a real estate broker? Do siblings need to agree to the sale?

William F Sulton Esq. answered on Apr 6, 2018

Your mother can transfer the property to you at any time by signing a deed. She could also use a will or trust.

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