What happens if I die without a will?

Each state has different laws that determine how your financial assets and personal property will be distributed when you die without a will (technically known as dying “intestate.”) In Wisconsin, asset division is determined by the presence of a will. If you have a will, your property will be divided according to your last wishes; if you die without a will, you property will be divided according to Wisconsin State law. In Wisconsin, your children will inherit equal shares of your entire estate, but only if you don’t have a spouse.

If you have a spouse, your surviving husband/wife will inherit all of your property. If you are survived by a spouse and children, your spouse will receive any property he/she received during the marriage (marital property) and the balance of the estate will be divided equally between the children. If you own joint property, your percentage of ownership will be divided equally between the other owners. For instance, if you owned a piece of property with two other people, the other owners’ percentages would increase from 33% to 50% in the event of your death.

In Wisconsin, you are not allowed to will marital property. Simply put, marital property includes all property acquired during the course of your marriage. For instance, if you and your spouse purchased a house together, your surviving husband/wife is entitled to full ownership when you die – even if you want to will it to another beneficiary. If you have questions about estate planning, wills or other legal matters, contact a Washington County attorney from Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. today. At the firm, we handle a wide variety of legal matters, including wills and health care matters. Call today and see what a high-quality legal advocate from our firm can do for your case.