Small Estate Administration – Brookfield, WI.

Serving Waukesha, Elm Grove, New Berlin, Pewaukee, & Lake Country.

Not every estate is required to be administered through formal or informal probate proceedings.  In Wisconsin, there are summary procedures that may allow small estates to skip probate altogether or at least use simplified summary procedures which entail minimal court supervision of the administration of a small estate. These small estate procedures allow inheritors to obtain their inheritance quickly and inexpensively.  In Wisconsin an estate is considered a small estate if the value of the estate is under $50,000.

What Assets are Estate Assets

Not every asset of a deceased person is an asset of their estate. Only the assets that pass to heirs through a will or through intestacy laws are estate assets which count against the $50,000 probate threshold. Having a comprehensive estate plan that designates death beneficiaries or establishes a trust can keep assets out of your estate and eliminate the need for a probate.  Assets that transfer outside of probate include:

  • Jointly owned bank accounts
  • Jointly held investment accounts
  • Assets held in a Trust
  • Real Estate with a recorded Transfer on Death Designation
  • Life Insurance with a named, living beneficiary
  • Individual retirement accounts with a named, living beneficiary or designated as Payable on Death to a living beneficiary
  • Individual investment accounts with a named, living beneficiary or designated as Payable on Death to a living beneficiary
  • Individual bank accounts designated as Payable on Death to a living beneficiary

Small Estate Administration Summary Procedures

There are three primary summary small estate administration procedures in Wisconsin.

Transfer By Affidavit

A transfer by affidavit is the least complicated option to transfer assets of a decedent to heirs and it avoids court supervision altogether.  An affidavit is a written statement that the truth of which is confirmed by oath or affirmation. This means that by signing the transfer by affidavit, you are certifying that the information you provide is true and correct.

The State Bar of Wisconsin makes the transfer by affidavit forms available to the public and provides instructions for its use.  In summary, a qualified heir can complete the transfer by affidavit form and related documents and after complying with any applicable notice provisions, present the affidavit along with a copy of the death certificate to institutions holding assets of the decedent in order to have title to the assets transferred to the heirs.

The transfer by affidavit process was designed to simplify the administration of small estates but it can still seem like a complex undertaking, especially If the deceased person received state-provided medical services or died with outstanding debts.  At Carroll Estate Planning LLC, we can expertly guide you through the transfer by affidavit process to ensure that it is done right the first time.

has the experience in small estate administration to help expedite the probate process and bring closure to your loved ones.

Summary Settlement

When a transfer by affidavit cannot be used to transfer the assets of a decedent to the heirs any person who would be eligible to open a probate estate can petition the court for a summary settlement if: (1) the value of the decedent’s estate less any encumbrances is less than the total of the costs, allowances and claims or (2) the value of the decedent’s estate less any encumbrances is less than $50,000 and the decedent is survived by a spouse, domestic partner and/or minor children.

While the summary settlement of a small estate is a streamlined process compared to a formal or informal probate and does not require the appointment of a personal representative, it still involves probate court filings and preparation of legal documents. At Carroll Estate Planning LLC, we can expertly guide you through the summary settlement process to ensure that it is done right the first time.

Summary Assignment

Summary assignment is similar to summary settlement process but is used only when summary settlement is not available, which most commonly is when the value of an estate is less than $50,000 but there is no surviving spouse and/or minor children. Summary Assignment is slightly more involved than the Summary Settlement procedure and requires additional filings with the probate court.  At Carroll Estate Planning LLC, we can expertly guide you through the summary settlement process to ensure that it is done right the first time.

 

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