Your will contains your directions for the distribution of your estate to your beneficiaries and names your executor, the person who will settle your affairs. You must be at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to make a will in Wisconsin. State laws govern certain aspects of your will, such as the validity standards and revocation methods.
Wisconsin allows for typed or handwritten wills. Your will must be signed by you -- unless you instruct another person to sign for you in your presence -- and two witnesses. Both witnesses may benefit from the will, but the share may be restricted as a result. Your witnesses must be mentally competent at the time the will is executed, but a loss of a witness's mental capacity later on does not, in itself, invalidate your will. You do have the option of a "self-proved" will in Wisconsin, which avoids the need for testimony or an affidavit from your witnesses during probate. Once you complete your will, you and your witnesses may sign an affidavit attesting to your will's validity. The affidavit must be made in front on an officer authorized to take oaths in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin law does not restrict distributions in wills; you can leave your assets to the persons, charities and other organizations you select. You may name a legal guardian for any minor children you have. The guardian acts as the child's caregiver in the event of your death. A trust may be created in your will to govern the distribution of assets and income to your children, with your named trustee overseeing the fund.
You may amend your will by drafting and signing a codicil. The codicil is a document that references your original will, cites the provisions you want to change and details your new directives.The rest of your will remains unchanged. Your codicil must be witnessed by at least two persons, and if you filed your original will with the Wisconsin probate court for safekeeping, the codicil should be filed in the court as well.
Your spouse or domestic partner may be entitled to a share of your estate even if you omit her from your will. Wisconsin law provides a percentage of your estate to your partner if your will was made before you married or legally entered into the partnership, unless another party proves you made the will in contemplation of legally sealing the union. Any child you did not provide for in your will has a right to your estate unless you showed your omission was intentional on the document.
You may revoke a will by making a new will and including a statement revoking all prior wills in Wisconsin. Provisions in a will that leave anything to your former spouse or domestic partner are considered revoked unless your will mentions the divorce or termination of the union. A provision to a beneficiary who caused your death is automatically revoked by Wisconsin law.