How To Correctly Execute Your Wisconsin Last Will and Testament
First, you need a Blue Wet Ink Pen for all persons signing the last will and testament. NO BLACK INK! It is important for people to be able to tell that your signature on your last will and testament is an original. With todays high performance copiers it is more difficult than ever to tell a copy from and original. Using blue ink is one way to make telling an original from a copy of your Wisconsin will much easier.
Second, you need Two (2) witnesses in the state of Wisconsin who are over the age of 18 years, are not beneficiaries of your Wisconsin estate, and are not your power of attorney or personal representative (executor), to witness various Wisconsin estate documents. It is important to make sure that your witnesses actually watch you sign your name to your Wisconsin last will and testament.
Third, you need a Wisconsin notary public to notarize the last will and testament and other estate documents. Remember to bring your Wisconsin state issued photo ID for the Wisconsin notary public to verify your identity, and if necessary, the identity of your witnesses.
Step 1: REVIEW YOUR Wisconsin Last Will and Testament.
Read and review your Wisconsin Last Will and Testament carefully. Review each page carefully. Make sure that your fidicuriaries names are spelled correctly. Likewise, make sure that beneficiaries names are spelled correctly and that any gifts you have made are clearly written and understandable.
Do not sign your Last Will and Testament until you have read it, understand it and made sure that it expresses your intentions for your estate.
If you need to make changes, please be sure to print out new a new version of your Wisconsin last will and testament before proceeding to step two. In certain circumstances, handwritten text and markings can have a material effect on the enforcement of your documents under Wisconsin law.
Step 2: Signing Your Wisconsin Last and Testament.
Please be sure to have two (2) witnesses and a Wisconsin notary public present when you sign your last will and testament. The witnesses and the Wisconsin notary must be present at the same time when you sign your last will and testament; in addition, they must see you sign it, and they must see each other sign.
A valid witness under Wisconsin should be an adult, over the age of 18, who is not a beneficiary or fiduciary of your Wisconsin estate. It is important to make sure that your witnesses do not have an economic interest in your estate so there is no appearance of bias in the event they are called to testify regarding the signing of your last will and testament.
A Wisconsin notary public can be found at a local bank, UPS store or post office. Please remember to bring a copy of a Wisconsin government-issued photo ID for the notary to confirm your identity for signing your last will and testament. Remember to make sure that you have your two witnesses, and the Wisconsin notary public present together at the same time with everyone watching when you sign your document.
- When you are ready, initial and date each of the pages of your Wisconsin Last Will and Testament on the bottom right corner on the blanks provided.
- Ask your witnesses to sign the witness sections of your last will and testament after you’ve signed your name.
- Ask the Wisconsin notary to notarize your last will and testament using the supplied notary blanks at the end of your last will and testament.
Step 3: STORE YOUR ESTATE DOCUMENTS.
Keep your Wisconsin last will and testament in a safe place that can be accessed by your personal representative (executor) or power of attorney in an emergency. A good suggestion is to keep last will and testament where you keep your other important papers.
Tell your personal representative (executor) and power of attorney where you have stored your last will and testament so they know where to find it in an emergency, and give them a copy.
Destroy all prior Wills and Codicils to avoid any confusion as to which document is actually your Last Will and Testament.
Step 4: Update Your Last Will and Testament as needed.
We recommend that you review your last will and testament regularly to ensure that it reflects your most up-to-date wishes and intentions.
Remember to update your last will and testament any time there is a change in assets, beneficiaries, or fiduciaries in your Wisconsin estate plan.