Do you need a will? Eau Claire expert weighs in

Eau Claire (WQOW)- Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin recently died and didn’t have a will, so it brings up the question – should you have one?

Local certified planner Andrew Schlafer is surprised Franklin didn’t have a will especially since she knew she was sick and her death wasn’t unexpected like when Prince died, who also didn’t have a will. 

Schlafer said in Prince’s case, many people came out and tried to claim to be his half brother or say they were somehow related, so having a will would have cleared everything up. 

He said he recommends everyone have a will because it’s your final wishes on paper, but if you don’t have one, this is what happens. 

"If you die without a will, it’s called dying intestate, and if you die intestate the state steps in and dictates who the money goes to," Schlafer said. "In Wisconsin, it’s pretty straight forward. It’s actually the way most people would choose to have it distributed anyway. So, if you die and you’re married, your spouse gets 100 percent. If you die and you’re not married, but you have children, it will then go down to your children."

Schlafer said it then goes to the next of kin if you don’t have kids. 

He said there’s a misconception that the state takes your money if you don’t have a will. He said he spoke with some local attorneys who said they haven’t seen this happen, but if no relatives can be tracked down the money will go to the Wisconsin School Fund. 

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