What is a Last Will and Testament


A Alabama Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their children’s inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representative—or co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)—to manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedent’s debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedent’s property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usually—in most states—means it must be properly witnessed, as well—not just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedent’s debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedent’s heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedent’s property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Wisconsin Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they don’t, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Wisconsin free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Wisconsin

Usually, the laws of the states regulate the process of inheritance after the death of a person. According to Wisconsin’s statutes, the property goes to the closest relatives of the deceased, starting from spouses and children. If a person wants to change the order of people who will receive property in case of death, he or she can complete the last will form.

A last will is a form that is legally binding and is significant for the court to make a decision about the estate and assets transferring.

There are special names for all participants of the probate process:

  • Testator – a person who is completing the last will;

  • Beneficiary – receivers the property;

  • Executor – representative of the testator and manager of the probate process.

The main purposes of the last will are:

  • ascribe people who will receive the property after the testator death;

  • determine a person who will care about minors after the death of the testator;

  • choose a person who will manage the distribution of the property;

  • assign a representative for the execution of the will.

The advantage of the last will is that you do not need to hire a lawyer to complete this form and make it valid. The only thing you need to do is to check the requirements for the last will and probate process in your state and follow them during the filling out and signing process.

Wisconsin’s laws require the testator to be over 18 years old and of sound mind. It means that the person should be able to make decisions by him or herself while creating and signing the last will form.

Moreover, some requirements regulate the execution of the last will. Firstly, two disinterested witnesses should be included in the signing process. They can be anyone except beneficiaries of the will. If you neglect this rule, the court will perceive the last will invalid. Secondly, witnesses should present during the process of signing and put their signs at the end of the last will.

One more crucial requirement that people need to follow in almost all the states of the USA is the format of the last will form – it should be created in written form. The court does not allow using a handwritten or another format of the papers for the probate process.

So, if your last will comply with these legal requirements, you can be sure that the court will distribute the property according to the document. By the way, any changes in the last will form can be performed by the testator during the life following the same completion and signing procedure.

Last will is an obligatory paper for those who want to express their desire about property inheritance and record it legally. Even if the person presented his or her will verbally, it would not become evident for the court. Make sure you know all the requirements regarding the last will complete in your state and prevent undesired troubles with property distribution for the relatives.



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