Probate Attorney – Brookfield, WI.
Serving Waukesha, Elm Grove, New Berlin, Wauwatosa, Pewaukee, & all of Lake Country.
Having to deal with the probate of a family member’s estate is a challenging undertaking at a difficult and often stressful time. Carroll Estate Planning, LLC can help you navigate the minutia of the probate rules and honor the wishes of your deceased love one.
Probate is a judicial process where the court supervises the transfer of a deceased person’s assets to those that are entitled to receive them. Probate is required when the value of assets transferred by a will or intestate meets or exceeds $50,000.
The court’s goal of requiring probate is to protect the rights of heirs, beneficiaries and those who have an interest in an estate. Heirs and beneficiaries are not necessarily the same. An heir is a person who would inherit assets if the decedent died without a Will. With respect to the probate process, a beneficiary is a person who is named in a Will to inherit assets of the decedent.
There are two types of probate in Wisconsin, Informal Administration and Formal Administration. Informal Administration is the most common type of probate used in Wisconsin. It provides a streamlined process that is supervised by a Registrar in Probate, whereas, Formal Administration is supervised by a Circuit Court Judge and is generally a much more involved process.
Informal Administration is available when there is a Will which does not prohibit the use of informal administration, the Will names a personal representative who accepts the appointment, and where, after notice all interested persons consent to the informal administration of the estate. Informal administration is also available where there is no Will and all interested persons consent in writing to the appointment of the same person as Personal Representative.
The first step in the probate process involves the court validating the Will, which must be filed with the court if one exists, and approving the appointment of the Personal Representative, formerly referred to as Executor. After the court approves of the appointment of the Personal Representative, it will issue Domiciliary Letters, written proof that the court has given the Personal Representative authority to administer the estate as required by law.
The Personal Representative has a very important role in the probate administration process and, as the name implies, is the personal representative of the decedent, charged with carrying out all of the duties of the administration of the estate. In Informal Probate Administration, the Personal Representative is not required to retain the assistance of an attorney, although having guidance navigating the probate process from a probate attorney can be extremely useful and help ensure that the Personal Representative is complying with his or her fiduciary duty.
Probate Administration Involves the Following Steps:
- Filing the Will with the Court if one exists
- Identifying Interested Persons
- Initiating the Probate process informally by application or formally by petition
- Appointment of the Personal Representative
- Obtaining waiver and consent from Interested Persons (heirs and beneficiaries) or providing notice of hearing to Interested Persons
- Obtaining Domiciliary Letters
- Providing and publishing Notice to Creditors
- Protecting, preserving and collecting estate assets
- Filing an Inventory – a snapshot of the estate’s assets and their value as of the date of death
- Liquidating estate assets
- Payment of creditors, claims, debts of the decedent and estate expenses
- Preparing and filing tax returns for the decedent and the estate
- Final distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries and/or heirs
- Preparing an Estate Account, accounting for all credits and debits of the estate
- Obtaining a Closing Certificate for Fiduciaries
- Preparing and filing the Personal Representative’s Statement to Close
Partner with Douglas J. Carroll, Jr., and Carroll Estate Planning, LLC to assist you with the probate process for your loved one. We are equipped to handle a wide variety of probate matters and to help you navigate this complex process during a difficult time in an expeditious and cost effective manner. No matter the level of complexity, Carroll Estate Planning, LLC is prepared to provide you with personalized attention and careful guidance through the probate process.