The process for making a will is similar in every state, but there are crucial differences that vary state-by-state. It is these differences that are important—each U.S. state has its own distinct requirements for making a will. The statutory laws of Wisconsin are what you need to fully understand to make a valid will online in Wisconsin. If you don’t properly execute your will, the court can reject it outright and it would be the same as though you never made a will. To make a will in Wisconsin, make sure you satisfy all the legal requirements before considering the job done. If you make a will online, you want to make sure you use an online will that is customized for Wisconsin.
Can I Make a Will Online in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can make a will online in Wisconsin. To do so, use an online will making service. Our lawyer reviewed multiple online wills to find the best online will making service. USLegalWills delivered the highest quality online last will and testament.
When you make a will in Wisconsin, the following legal conditions must be met for it to be valid:
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
- You must be of sound mind.
- Your will must be in writing. If you make an online will, print it out.
- You must sign or acknowledge the will in front of two competent witnesses, and
- Your witnesses must sign your will within a “reasonable time.”
Wisconsin currently does not accept electronic wills. As technology advances, many states are considering allowing e-signatures and digital-only wills. But for now, your will must be a hard copy with physical signatures.
You should choose two “disinterested” witnesses (not beneficiaries in your will); if either witness is an “interested party,” any provision left to them in the will might be void.
Does Wisconsin Require a Notarized Will?
No, notarization is not required when you make a will in Wisconsin. But, it is important to understand that a will must be verified when it is presented in probate court. Like most states, Wisconsin allows for a will to be “self-proved.” If you have a “self-proved” will, this can assist the probate court in speedily validating the will and allowing the executor of the estate to carry it out. “Self-proving” a will involves notarization.
To “self-prove” your will in Wisconsin, either:
- Sign the will, and your witnesses sign the will, in front of a notary public, or
- Present an already-signed will to a notary public, then you and your witnesses make sworn statements attesting to the validity of the will.
Attach any notarized documents to your will.
Can I Name an Executor in Wisconsin?
Yes, in Wisconsin, an executor can be named in an online will. An executor is the person chosen to settle the estate, making sure the will is followed after the Testator’s death. If you do not name someone as the executor in your will, the court will appoint someone (which can cause delays). It is a good idea to choose someone to act as the executor of your estate; you want to discuss it with them before naming them in your will, to make sure they are up to the job. You want to pick someone who you know well and who you trust—it is best to pick someone who is organized and able to keep track of details.
The requirements for someone to qualify to serve as an executor in Wisconsin are:
- The person must be at least 18 years old.
- The person must be of sound mind (not judged incapacitated by a court).
Although many states do not allow people with felony convictions to serve as an executor, Wisconsin does not have any statutory laws that prevent this. You are free to name any competent adult as your executor. If someone challenges your choice, the court will determine if the person is qualified. Unless there is a clear conflict of interest or incompetence, the person you named will serve as the executor.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are some specific guidelines in Wisconsin:
- A non-resident executor must appoint an in-state agent; this in-state agent accepts legal documents on behalf of the estate.
- The court does reserve the right to remove or to refuse appointing someone based solely on the grounds of residency.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Wisconsin?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in Wisconsin. For those with a simple estate and a straightforward will, online will making is a good option. For those with a large or complex estate, it is wise to consult an estate planning attorney. If you choose to make an online will, be sure you choose an online will making service that offers templates designed for Wisconsin. Once you make your will, you should double-check that you satisfied all the statutory requirements for a valid will.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Wisconsin?
As long as the will satisfies the statutory requirements of the state, it is considered valid in Wisconsin.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Wisconsin?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament. It is written and signed by the Testator (the person making the will). Though some states do allow for holographic wills, they often face challenges in probate court. The handwriting must be proved authentic, requiring witnesses to testify before the court (or the court might even require handwriting analysis experts to testify); people typically forget to include important provisions or use unclear language that causes the court to reject the will.
In any regards, in Wisconsin, holographic wills are not considered legally binding, unless it was made in a ****jurisdiction that recognizes holographic wills. This is because holographic wills do not satisfy the witness requirement for a will to be recognized as valid in Wisconsin.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Wisconsin?
An oral will is known as nuncupative will, and sometimes people wish to record their oral wills in a video.
In any state, a nuncupative will is regarded as an emergency or last option type of will; if the individual is in imminent danger of death and has not created a formal will, a nuncupative will is preferable to leaving no instructions at all. If time and health permit, a written, witnessed, and legally enforceable will is far superior for avoiding legal delays.
However, nuncupative wills are not legally binding in Wisconsin. If you leave a nuncupative will in Wisconsin, the court will not enforce it. It will be the same as though you died without a will. Though by leaving a nuncupative will if you are facing death, at least your family members will know about your final wishes.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Wisconsin?
A living will is another term for an advance directive. It is not the same as a last will and testament; it is a separate legal document. A living will is a legally enforceable document that details medical decisions and end-of-life care, whereas a last will and testament specifies guardianship for minor children, the division of the estate, and other details. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on living wills in Wisconsin, you can go here.
You must create a properly executed living will for medical directives and end-of-life care instructions, otherwise your wishes will not be legally binding. It is your obligation to inform your family and doctors that you have a living will; you should create copies for family members, doctors, and your estate executor.
In Wisconsin, these are the requirements for a living will:
- The declarant must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
- The declarant must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses, who must not be related to the declarant.
- The declarant must notify their physicians.
- It must substantially follow the form provided in WI Stat §154.03.
You can file your living will, for a small fee, with the probate court in the county where you reside for safekeeping. A living will is voided during pregnancy; you can also revoke or change a living will at any time.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Wisconsin?
If someone dies without a will, they die intestate. Every state has its own laws that decide what happens next—these are known as intestacy laws. The court will also have to appoint a guardian for any minor children, which may become complicated. It is always better to have a plan in place for any minor children should something happen to you and the other parent; it is important to decide who will be the guardian in such a situation, instead of your family scrambling to decide what to do. The court also will name an executor to handle settling your estate. Your estate is divided between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of Wisconsin. This can become a lengthy process, and property is frequently held up in probate for months or years.
In order to avoid such situations, it is best to have a valid will in place.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Wisconsin?
You can include the following when you make an online will in Wisconsin:
- You can name the executor for your estate.
- You can appoint a guardian for any minors.
- You can appoint a guardian to oversee any property left to minors.
- You can leave property or other gifts to family or friends.
- You can leave property or gifts to organizations or charities.
- You can determine who receives family heirlooms and sentimental items.
- You can distribute personal or sentimental items.
- You can name someone to care for any remaining pets.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Wisconsin?
You should not include advance directives or end-of-life care stipulation in your will. Such directives are only legally binding if you create a valid living will. Otherwise, any medical decisions or end-of-life care wishes are not enforceable or effective.
You should also not include any funeral directions in your will. A will is generally not consulted until the process to settle the estate begins; whereas, funeral arrangements are usually made immediately. If you leave instructions for your funeral in your will, it is likely that your family members may not know about them until after the funeral. To leave your funeral directions, you can talk with a family member and/or make a separate document describing your wishes. Creating a document detailing your wishes for funeral arrangements might make it easier on your family when they begin to plan your funeral. If you make a document with these instructions, be sure to give copies of it to the executor of your estate or other trusted family members.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Wisconsin?
Any properly executed will is considered legally binding, so it is important to know how to change or revoke it. There are many reasons you might need to change or revoke your will—and it is actually recommended to revisit your will every few years to make sure there are no changes that you should make.
It is also recommended that you update your will after any change in circumstance. Major life events—such as: marriage or divorce; birth or adoption of a child; acquisition of significant assets; or relocation to another state or country—are all times that you should revisit your will.
If you need to make major changes to your will, it is best to revoke it and make a new will. If you only need to make minor changes to a will, you can add an amendment called a codicil instead. A codicil must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
In Wisconsin, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can physically destroy it (by burning, tearing, shredding, cutting, or otherwise destroying all or part of the will) with the intent of revoking it.
- You can order someone else to physically destroy it in front of you.
- You can make a new will stating it revokes the old will.
- You can make a new will that contains contradictory terms to the old will.
Divorce does automatically revoke any language that benefits your former spouse or names them as your executor; it is still recommended to revisit your will after divorce to fully understand how the divorce impacts your will. Any language that benefits relatives of your former spouse is also automatically revoked.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Wisconsin?
After you make a will in Wisconsin, you finalize it taking these steps:
- Print it out (if made online).
- Sign (or acknowledge) it in front of two witnesses, and
- Have your witnesses sign it within a “reasonable time.”
To “self-prove” your will in Wisconsin, either:
- You and your witnesses sign the will in front of a notary public, or
- You and your witnesses make “self-proving affidavits” in front of a notary.
Attach these documents to your will.
USLegalWills is a leading provider of online wills. Their service has helped millions of people create a last will and testament over the last twenty years. We like that their services are easy to understand, reasonably priced, and produce an accurate document. You can also create a Living Will and other key end-of-life documents. It’s an affordable, accessible way to create an online last will and testament now. See their pricing and details here.