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Routinely, people ask me what they can do to minimize the burden of probate on loved ones once they are gone. Common convention always seems to move towards trusts, which I feel are more complexity than most people want or need. My answer is simple, be organized! The more organized you are, the easier it will be on your loved ones once your earthly days have come to an end.
And keeping with that mantra, I recently asked a law clerk of mine to research the exact steps involved for a client to remove his old will from the file at Dane County's Probate Court, where it had been placed for safekeeping. After working with me this past summer, he had a new will that revoked his former one on file. However, upon his death there is a chance that the newer will would not be located in his personal possessions and the old will on file would be found. Later is the newer one was recovered....well you get the picture, a lot of hassle would occur.
Thanks to Sarah Wood, one of my current law clerks, my client and I now have the exact steps needed for that original will to be removed. Here are her thoughts:
Have you changed your will but still have an old copy on file at the courthouse? If so, probate court may rely on your old will and fail to realize that a new will is in place. It is common to change your will throughout your lifetime, so what can you do to reduce confusion? All you need to do is remove your will on file at the probate court. The process for removing an old will in Dane County, Wisconsin, is easy. Just follow these simple steps:Thanks for reading, and please remember that a blog is no substitute for an attorney. Please consult a professional in your state for advice specific to your situation.
· Go to Room 1005 of the Dane County Courthouse, located at 215 S. Hamilton Street in Madison, Wisconsin. The Dane County Probate Court is open from 7:45 – 3:00 Monday through Friday.
· Bring a form of identification with you to the courthouse. Let them know you are there to have your old will removed from their file.
· A courthouse employee will then provide the necessary forms for you to fill out and sign.
· After completion of these steps, your old will will then be removed from the courthouse file.
Removing old wills from the file at probate court is just another easy step that you can take in reducing confusion and staying organizing when it comes to your estate plan. By following this simple process, you can ensure that your most recent and correct will is followed during probate.