Although Wisconsin is not officially a community property state, a surviving spouse has the right to elect an amount equal to no more than 50% of the augmented deferred marital property estate. Wis. Stat. § 861.02. Through Wisconsin’s adoption of the Model Marital Property act, statutory limits have been enacted that limit surviving spouse’s right to one-half of the couple’s marital property.  The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has ruled, however, that Wisconsin marital property is the statutory equivalent to community property for income tax purposes. Rev. Rul. 87-13, 1987-1 C.B. 20.

Deferred marital property is acquired during the marriage. A surviving spouse shall make his or her election within six (6) months after the date of the decedent’s death.