How to Write a Will in the State of Wisconsin

By Bernadette A. Safrath
A will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses in Wisconsin.

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A will can be an important tool for setting forth how your property will be divided after death. In Wisconsin, the document must meet certain requirements under state law. If a will is declared invalid, a court will distribute your assets according to intestacy laws, which typically result in only your spouse and children receiving property. To prevent a will from being thrown out in Wisconsin, a person should seek an attorney’s assistance or review Wisconsin’s law on wills.

Drafting the Will

Verify that you are eligible to create a will in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin statute, the person making the will, referred to as the testator, must have full mental capacity (be “of sound mind”) and be at least 18 years old.

Familiarize yourself with your property. Not all property can be included in a will. Life insurance policies already have named beneficiaries, and you cannot alter them in your will. Additionally, property owned jointly with a right of survivorship will automatically pass to the surviving owner. All other property can be distributed under the will.

Decide who will receive your property. In Wisconsin, a testator must provide at least a percentage of her property to a spouse and children. After that, the testator is free to leave her property to anyone she wants to, including friends, extended family and charitable organizations.

Select a guardian for your minor children. The guardian will raise the children if you and your spouse die together, or if she dies before you.

Select an executor. The executor will be responsible for handling your estate during the probate process and will distribute your property to the beneficiaries once the will is approved by the court.

Finalizing the Will

Type the will up. Handwritten or holographic wills are not recognized in Wisconsin, so a will must be typed.

Sign and date the document at the end, after the last provision.

Sign in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses, who cannot be beneficiaries in the will, must also sign the document.

About the Author

Bernadette A. Safrath is an attorney who has been writing professionally since 2008. Safrath was published in Touro Law Center's law review and now writes legal articles for various websites. Safrath has a Bachelor of Arts in music from Long Island University at C.W. Post, as well as a Juris Doctor from Touro College.

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