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Does a Trust Affect Probate Actions in Wisconsin?

— February 8, 2023

If a person has a substantial estate or owns a business, not having a trust could cause delayed support and create negative tax consequences.

A trust can affect probate action because designations named within that document may not require probate. The importance of an estate plan cannot be underrated as individuals who have worked hard to acquire possessions and real estate should have a choice in who will receive their assets once they pass on. Wisconsin estate planning lawyers can prepare formal relevant documents and provide guidance for individuals as they require direction to their unique estate plans.

Estate plan

Estate plans usually include: 

  • a last will and testament, with guardianship if there are minor children.
  • an advance healthcare directive for end-of-life care.  
  • a durable power of attorney.


An estate plan may also include a trust which can be expensive. Simple trusts may account for support of loved ones including cars and college tuition for example and may be smaller documents. Business trusts could exceed 100 pages depending on the degree of detail contained in them. Trusts are created to address specific requirements or needs after a person dies with consideration for support, disabled loved one care, estate and gift tax minimization and reduced taxes overall. A business succession trust would allow an entity to be passed to the next generation. It is important to speak with a seasoned estate planning lawyer as they can identify a client’s concerns and draft a trust in accordance with those. If a person has a substantial estate or owns a business, not having a trust could cause delayed support and create negative tax consequences. Preserving wealth for retirement and beneficiaries is accomplished through a variety of trust provisions. A trust can reduce estate taxes and gift taxes and may also avoid probate proceedings, allowing the trustor to determine how assets should be distributed and to whom.

Image by Matthias Zomer from
Image by Matthias Zomer from

Experienced Milwaukee estate planning lawyers guide clients to make sure an estate plan contains the legally necessary language so a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death according to Wisconsin and federal laws. Wills must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed, and notarized according to Wisconsin law. Estate planning documents should be reviewed periodically with a lawyer to address any changes in laws, and updates to individuals named in the documents, accounting for death or estrangement.   

Hire a lawyer

Estate planning lawyers draft essential documentation, in addition to trusts. Consultation with tax lawyers  is also a prudent decision so they can review estate planning documents and specific language in a trust and explain how tax burdens will be handled for beneficiaries, companies and surviving loved ones.


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