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Using planning techniques to avoid probate

When planning your estate, you will realize that the smoothest way for your assets to reach your loved ones is by avoiding the probate process. However, this can be easier said than done, and it is important to look into all of the methods at your disposal that can help you to avoid the probate process, so that you understand what will work best for your personal situation.

In the state of Wisconsin, the filing fee for probate is 0.2 percent of the assets that you file through probate. This means that it is imperative to make sure that as much of your assets as possible avoid the probate process. The following are some ways that you can do so.

Create joint accounts wherever possible

If you create joint accounts or name your spouse on your retirement and bank accounts, it means that you will not need to go through an additional process in order to designate beneficiaries for assets stored here.

Enact a Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed

Like several other states, Wisconsin allows real estate to be transferred through a TOD Deed for a one-time fee of only $30. This means that your property will then be automatically transferred to an allocated person after your death.

Take advantage of revocable trusts

For certain types of assets that cannot be specifically reallocated to your beneficiary, one of the best and most broad options is to create a revocable trust. Trusts provide a cost effective way for you to avoid having assets be distributed through a will and therefore bearing the cost of probate. Creating a trust also means that you will be able to specify its terms in great detail. For example, if you wish to set up a trust for your grandchild, you may want to set the terms so that they receive the assets after a certain age, or through installments.

If you are beginning to plan your estate in Wisconsin, it is important to remember that estate planning strategies will differ according to the planner's specific financial circumstances. Make sure to understand the law and how it will apply to your planning.

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Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
110 Second Street
Post Office Box 469
Hudson, WI 54016

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