Question from meyou, What Constitutes an Asset for a Deceased Person in the State of Wisconsin?
Answer from AI:
When a person dies, their property, or “estate,” is typically distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. In Wisconsin, like in many other states, an estate includes a wide range of assets.
Types of Assets
Assets can be broadly categorized into two types: tangible and intangible.
- Tangible assets are physical items that have value. They include things like:
- Real estate, including homes, land, and other real property
- Personal property, such as cars, furniture, jewelry, and other personal belongings
- Collectibles, like art, antiques, and rare coins
- Intangible assets are non-physical items that have value. They include things like:
- Bank accounts and cash
- Investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests
- Intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights
Wisconsin’s Marital Property Law
It’s important to note that Wisconsin is a community property state. This means that any assets acquired during a marriage are generally considered to be owned equally by both spouses, regardless of who earned or purchased them. This is known as Wisconsin’s Marital Property Law. Therefore, if a married person dies, half of the marital property is considered part of the deceased’s estate.
Probate and Non-Probate Assets
Assets can also be classified as probate or non-probate assets. Probate assets are those that are included in the deceased’s estate and are distributed according to their will or, if there is no will, according to Wisconsin’s intestacy laws. Non-probate assets are those that pass directly to a named beneficiary or joint owner, such as life insurance proceeds or jointly owned property.
Seeking Legal Advice
Determining what constitutes an asset for a deceased person can be complex, especially when dealing with intangible assets, jointly owned property, or assets with named beneficiaries. It’s often a good idea to consult with a legal professional who specializes in estate planning or probate law to ensure that all assets are properly identified and distributed. This is particularly important if the estate is large, if there are disputes among potential heirs or beneficiaries, or if the deceased had significant debts.