Sczygelski & Pangburn Law Firm, LLC.

713 Washington Street     Manitowoc, WI  54220-4525
: (920) 682-9990     Fax: (920) 682-6371

Every person, regardless of age or health, should probably consider the issues which would lead to a valid Will in the state of Wisconsin.  Wills are extremely formal documents, and are probably one of the most formal and intricate pieces of paperwork that any lawyer will ever put together.  People have gotten into a great deal of trouble by simply writing their thoughts down on some piece of paper or on a computer and then end up having their wishes frustrated by a failure to follow the proper legal procedures.  Following are some things you should know about Wills in the state of Wisconsin:

One mistake people often make is to give assets, or certain other assets, to somebody who then ends up dying before they do.  What happens at that point?  A good attorney will make sure that there are no loose ends in this regard.

Being Specific
One problem that has occurred is people putting down that they will, for example, "Give my Pontiac to my nephew, John."  There can be several problems with this.  For example, you may not have a Pontiac at the time you die, but instead have a Buick.  You also may not have any car whatsoever, which then may leave your nephew John completely out of the estate.  Furthermore, another nephew, or grandnephew, may be born with the name of John.  Who then is supposed to get this particular asset?  Again, a good lawyer will work around these issues.

Dealing with beneficiaries who predecease you
If you decide to give your estate to your spouse, but then to give your estate to your three children equally if your spouse dies before you, what then happens if one of your children also predeceases you?  This is a very common situation, and there is no easy answer to that.  For example, under the proper circumstances, a third of your estate may end up going to your deceased child's surviving spouse.  It may end up going to the deceased child's surviving children (your grandchildren.)  That third may be divided amount your other two children even though your surviving grandchildren by your predeceased child may need the money far more. Again, these situations are best dealt with after consultant a lawyer.

Pensions and retirement accounts
Avoiding probate is probably the best alternative for most people with those portions of their assets which can be transferred directly.  This includes retirement accounts, certain bank accounts, life insurance policies, and even real estate.  Those issues should be dealt with the help of an attorney.

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