Consider Location of Assets, Loved Ones as You Plan Your Estate

US map.jpgMost everyone remembers the childhood song, “It’s A Small World.” With today’s technological advances, that world is getting progressively smaller. Along with this technology, the realities of modern economics mean that more people choose to be, or must be, more transient than ever. Sunny retirement prospects, or distant job opportunities, may lead you further away from home and family. In addition to impacting relationships, this affects your estate planning, as well.

If you have not created an estate plan, you may be wondering what type of plan best fits your more mobile lifestyle. Perhaps you own multiple properties in multiple states. You may own separate residences for winter and summer, or perhaps job relocation during the housing crash of the last decade left you unable to sell your previous residence. For those with real estate assets in multiple states, a revocable trust may be very beneficial. If your estate plan centers around a will, the law says your executor must probate your will in every state where you own property. So, if you own your residence in Wisconsin, a rental property in Iowa, and a vacation home in Florida, that would require three separate probate procedures to distribute your assets.

With a revocable trust, however, your estate could avoid the expense and time of these processes, as a trust permits your successor trustee to distribute all of your assets upon your death, anywhere in the U.S., regardless of what state your assets, or you, are at the time of your death.

Another consideration is the location of your loved ones, particularly, the person or people you want to oversee the distribution of your assets upon your death. Each state has varying laws regarding a non-resident serving as an executor of an estate. Some forbid it entirely. Wisconsin does not bar it, but it can be complicated, as many probate courts prefer that executors of the estates under their jurisdiction are Wisconsin residents. The probate judge may exclude your preferred person from serving based upon where he/she lives. Even if the judge approves your executor, Wisconsin law requires your executor to appoint a business or person residing in Wisconsin to serve as her/her agent, and the court may require your preferred executor to post a substantial bond in order to serve.


With a revocable trust, this potential problem is not a hurdle in most cases. Generally, revocable trusts are managed outside the scope of court oversight. This means that, typically, the person you name to serve as the successor trustee of your trust doesn’t have to live in Wisconsin, but can reside in any state.

As you consider your needs and options, also take into account the benefits of retaining a Wisconsin attorney experienced in estate planning to prepare your plan. Attorney Daniel J. Krause of Krause Law Offices LLC has more than a decade of experience helping clients with all types of estates, and the commitment to individual attention to ensure your plan is customized to meet your needs and goals. Attorney Daniel J. Krause can help you weigh the costs and benefits of every estate planning, and make sure you have a plan that offers you confidence and peace of mind.

Contact us through our website or call our office at (608) 268-5751 to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial consultation.

More blogs:

Don’t Wait Until Boarding To Think About Estate Planning, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, Dec. 27, 2012
Digital Estate Plans in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, July 31, 2012
Important Topics Parents Should Discuss With Their Adult Children, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, July 2, 2012