The death of a loved one can be a challenging and emotional time. After an individual passes away, his or her assets and property may enter into probate. Wynn at Law, LLC understands how difficult these situations can be on the personal representative and beneficiaries. The situation can become more stressful if there is a dispute about the deceased’s will. Wynn at Law, LLC’s experienced probate attorneys will honor the deceased’s last wishes while distributing assets in a way that resolves disputes.
While an estate is in probate, you may be working through the estate’s taxes and debts for months. The last thing you want to worry about while you are grieving is sending letters to creditors, distributing assets, or compiling a final accounting. Our probate attorneys will help you through this process while removing as much of your worry as we can. Wynn at Law, LLC’s attorneys listen to our clients and help make the probate process as simple and worry-free as possible.
In Wisconsin, probate is the legal process through which an individual’s assets are transferred on death. Probate is supervised by a court of law and is designed to protect beneficiaries’ interests and the rights of others who may have a claim to the estate.
During the probate process, a will is legally proven as the last true testament of the deceased. If the deceased has left a will, it must be filed with the court, even if probate isn’t needed to distribute the decedent’s property. If the individual dies without a will, they are considered to have died “intestate”. In these cases, Wisconsin’s intestacy laws will determine the deceased’s asset distribution.
The probate court’s ruling is the first step in distributing the deceased person’s assets according to the will and resolving all claims. The court will officially designate an executor to carry out the will’s instructions. Usually, the executor is named in the will; but the executor is named in probate court if a will is contested.
On average, probate takes at least six months. This time is necessary as it allows creditors to be notified, tax returns to be filed, and disputes to be resolved.
In Wisconsin, probate can be a formal or informal administration process, and Wynn at Law, LLC can help with both.
Most probate proceedings in Wisconsin are civil and able to be managed without a judge. These informal probate cases have no disputes between beneficiaries and only a few creditors. Informal proceedings are often handled with an application to the court, followed by summary judgment. For informal probate proceedings, the county’s register in probate will supervise the informal estate administration.
A probate judge is required to preside over formal administration. Formal administration is used if the will is contested, there are disputes among beneficiaries, or creditor issues. If issues arise during informal proceedings, the case switches to formal administration. Formal probate requires the assistance of an estate administration attorney and a personal representative to be appointed.
If an estate goes through formal probate, the personal representative for the proceedings must be represented by an attorney. In these cases, the personal representative may hire an attorney; the chosen attorney doesn’t need to be the attorney that drafted the will.
Informal probate cases do not require a probate attorney; however, consulting with an attorney experienced in probate is highly recommended. If you are a personal representative for an estate in probate, the attorneys at Wynn at Law, LLC are available for a probate or after death consultation.
Probate court proceedings can be long, time-consuming, expensive, and confusing. However, with proactive estate planning, it is possible to avoid probate entirely. Wynn at Law, LLC recommends everyone have a detailed estate plan to minimize or avoid probate.
If the need for a Probate Attorney arises, we are confident that Wynn at Law, LLC can help guide you through the probate process while mediating your disputes. Please contact us by email or call 262-725-0175. Our law offices are located in Lake Geneva, WI, Delavan, WI, and Salem, WI, serving Southeastern Wisconsin.
Not all assets are counted in probate. Some assets are exempt because they are transferred directly to the beneficiaries. Below are some useful estate planning tools that avoid probate:
After all of the exempted assets are removed for estates, in Wisconsin, the small estate threshold is $50,000. If the estate is valued below $50,000 and there is a will, probate is avoided. If there is no will, or if the estate is more than $50,000, probate is required.
Generally, probate costs are paid for by the estate. Probate expenses typically include court costs, probate bonds, fees paid to the personal representative, and attorney fees. Wynn at Law, LLC can provide a rough estimate of total probate fees after a consultation and a review of the estate’s basic information.
Before death, proper estate planning is an effective way to secure assets, avoid probate, prevent disagreements or disputes, and make the transition easier for loved ones. If you are looking to plan for the future or are currently facing probate for a loved one’s estate, Wynn at Law, LLC can help. Wynn at Law, LLC provides a complete range of probate and estate planning legal services.