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Trusts & Wills

Wills are a common way for people to state their preferences about how their estates should be handled after their deaths. A will can also name a personal representative, set up a trust, or designate a guardian to care for minor children. (Source: Family estate planning in Wisconsin)

Trusts can be estate-planning tools . "In general, a trust is a relationship in which one person holds title to property, subject to an obligation to keep or use the property for the benefit of another." (Source: IRS.gov)

With a pet trust, you can leave money to be used for the care of your pet or other animal. You put someone in charge of managing and spending it, following a written set of instructions that you provide. (ASPCA)

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Popular questions

What happens if you die without a will?

The American Bar Association's introduction to wills says: "If you die intestate (without a will), your state's laws of descent and distribution will determine who receives your property by default. These laws vary from state to state, but typically the distribution would be to your spouse and children, or if none, to other family members. A state's plan often reflects the legislature's guess as to how most people would dispose of their estates and builds in protections for certain beneficiaries, particularly minor children. That plan may or may not reflect your actual wishes." Wisconsin's intestate succession law is WI Statute ch. 852 "Intestate Succession".

Does a will need to be filed somewhere?

The Wisconsin Register in Probate Association website discusses filing of a will of a deceased person, as well as the option to deposit wills for safe-keeping with the Register in Probate where you reside. Learn more on their Wills FAQ.

What information should I provide the designated guardian and/or caretaker of my pet?

Some examples of information to include are habits, food preferences, medical conditions and medications taken, veterinary information and records, and behavior around other pets/people/children (ASPCA).

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Additional statutes, regulations & opinions may apply to your specific situation. Search the Wisconsin statutes & administrative code online.


The statutory form language used in the Wisconsin Basic Will and Wisconsin Basic Will with Trust can be read at the following statutes:


  • Order a Wisconsin Basic Will
    Wills printed by Wisconsin Legal Blank are available for purchase at our libraries. For cost and order information, see our forms for sale page for information on how to order by mail. This form uses the statutory form language linked above.

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Pet Trusts

County Resources

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