Articles Tagged with Probate

Not all of a deceased person’s property has to go through probate. If the property had a properly designated beneficiary, such as an insurance policy, an IRA or a 401(k), those do not go through probate.
Additionally, because of Wisconsin’s marital property law, everything owned jointly by a married couple easily transfers over to the surviving spouse. However, if real estate is only in the deceased spouse’s name there may need to be a probate. Continue reading

An affidavit of transfer is an alternative option to probate only when people have less than $50,000 in probateable assets, in other words, anything that would pass through the probate court. Typically that would include any real estate, bank accounts or other personal property which was held in the deceased person’s name. However, again the total of all assets would have to be under $50,000.

Another option for estates over $50,000 to avoid probate requires planning before the person passes away.

Another option to avoid probate is by creating a revocable trust and then transferring all of the assets into that trust. Upon doing so, if a person then dies, there would be no need for a court case. This is the best way for most people to plan their estates.

The attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC know the timelines of the probate process. They are able to work on matters so that as soon as one timeline is met, they start working on the next timeline. That allows them to get a probate done in the minimum amount of time because of their familiarity with the process. Additionally, in order to probatemake the probate process go as smoothly and quickly as possible, the attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC always encourage the Personal Representative to be open and honest and with all beneficiaries so there is not anyone who is out there suspicious and worried. By just simply opening up the books and being very communicative, delays can sometimes be avoided that could be caused by people contacting the court and asking for information or creating a will contest because of a distrust. Additionally, the lawyers at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC act as a buffer sometimes between factions of the family that don’t get along. If people who don’t really trust the Personal Representative can contact their firm instead sometimes that can make things go faster than if they are trying to get in touch with the Personal Representative who may be personally not a friend. Experienced attorneys can also help resolve disputes when they arise. Being able to calmly deal with family members as a person without a bias or history is often useful. Therefore, there are a lot of ways that an experienced attorney can speed up the probate process and make it less painful for those involved.

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Probate obstacles can start with being able to locate and notify all “persons interested.” Everyone must be notified before the probate can begin. An investigation and special hearing would have to take place in order to have a probate move forward if not everyone has been made aware.

“Persons interested” are the people named in a will as beneficiaries, and the Personal Representative. But, the persons interested also include all people who would inherit if there were no will (according to the law of intestate succession). This means that even if a will was left that said “Everything goes to my sister Laura,” interested persons would include all of the people who would inherit if there were no will. This could be parents and all other siblings including any unknown half-siblings from a father who disappeared when the decedent was a small child. It could also include nieces, nephews and cousins.

probateAs you can see, when families are not close, or when a person is very old and the last surviving sibling, it is often difficult to trace a family tree and locate a missing interested person.

Another obstacle people may face in probate is the fact that the courts are located in the county seats. This can mean travel for some people who find travel difficult. Sometimes people are intimidated by going to the court in order to file documents or to figure out which documents need to be filed, etc.

A third barrier in the probate process is knowledge barrier. People need to know about the taxing of estates, court procedures, court processes and the probate process in order to make this happen smoothly. As many people go through probate only once in their lifetime for a loved one, they don’t have time to spend learning all of these particular pieces of knowledge that they need to know.

Lastly, is the fact that people who are dealing with these matters are probably not their best after they have lost a loved one. Sometimes they don’t have the patience or the time to deal with the intricacies involved in the probate process.

What Actually Happens During The Probate Process? Continue reading

Probate is a court case that one files against themselves on behalf of their creditors.

Here’s some history of probate: The way property passes upon ones death has gone through various stages over time. In the middle ages, there were certain rules set by the king that would say where the property was to go and that was not able to be changed with a will or a testament. People just had to deal with the fact that their property was going to probatego to certain people when they died. With the introduction of the will, one could choose where the property went, but there was a need to have supervision by the King’s court so that the sovereign could always keep track of where assets ended up. The probate process has developed from those ages to a process that still needs court involvement.

In probate, when someone dies, there is a court case opened and notices are sent to all people that could receive assets of the deceased person. This notice is an option and an invitation to contest any will that might be presented to the court. There is also a notice that is published in the newspaper for anyone that thinks that the deceased person owes them money to come forward and make a claim against the estate. As the claims come in and everyone is being notified, the Personal Representative (a.k.a. Executor) puts together an inventory of everything that the person owned at the time of their death. That information is filed with the court and becomes a public document. Therefore anyone can find out what the deceased person owned at the time of their death. After Continue reading

A coherent strategy for the transfer of assets is, of course, crucial to the success of any estate plan. But the best-laid plans will fall far short of expectations if the trusts so carefully drafted are never properly funded.

TrustIf the trust is the car, the funding is the fuel. Without gas in the tank, that beautiful sedan with the precision engine is just metal on four wheels. It’s not going anywhere. The same holds true for an estate plan . Until it’s properly funded, the “plan” is just a plan – a plan that can’t be executed. Like the car with the needle on empty, it’s not going to take you anywhere.

With basic wills, most of the funding happens after death through the probate process. By contrast, a trust can – and should – be funded while the trust maker is still alive. With proper trust funding we can assure that the client’s designated assets will be governed by the terms of the trust agreement. Without it, assets not properly transferred to the trust will generally fall to probate.

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1353627_tullips sxchu website.jpgIn Wisconsin and other states, probate is the legal procedure through which a person’s assets are transferred after their death. The process is supervised by a court of law and designed to protect anyone with a legal interest in the deceased person’s estate. Probate is used to distribute a decedent’s assets not only to beneficiaries, but also to creditors and taxing authorities. Continue reading

Over the years, we’ve discovered that many people make a BIG mistake, catapulting their assets and loved ones right into the probate court system. Most of our clients want to avoid probate court because it has a reputation for being expensive, time consuming, stressful952313_gavel – and public, meaning anyone anywhere can see who got what and how to contact them. Beneficiaries may become victims to nosey neighbors, predators, and unscrupulous “charities.”

Q: What’s the one mistake that causes all these problems?

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Can You Do More with Estate Planning than Control the Transfer of Property?Most people assume the main purpose for a will and other estate documents is to control the transfer of property from the deceased person to his or her heirs; however, this is not the case. Estate planning allows you to control much more than the transfer of property. One of the most recent examples can be found in the Estate of Robin Williams.

In his will, Williams restricted the use of his image for 25 years after his death. In his estate, Williams left the rights to his name, signature, photograph, and likeness to the Windfall Foundation. The foundation is a charitable organization that Williams had established prior to his death. The trust is designed to prevent Williams’ publicity from being exploited after his death — for at least 25 years.

Other famous examples of individuals using their estate to accomplish their final desires in addition to the transfer of property include: Continue reading

How to Stop Mail Addressed to a Deceased Person?

Even though we have moved into the electronic age, we still receive a significant amount of paper mail. For some, the amount of paper mail may be higher, especially for those who never embraced email or the internet as a means of communication. Therefore, one of your first steps as an executor for the probate estate is to contact the post office and submit a change of address form. You need to ensure that all of the deceased’s mail is coming to your address so that you can review bills, statements, etc. and take the appropriate measures according to the decedent’s Will or state law.

Unfortunately, along with the important pieces of mail that you receive, you will also receive junk mail, catalogs, magazines, and other items. At some point, you will want to stop mail from being delivered. Bills and statements typically end once the account is settled; however, junk mail will continue until you take steps to stop it.

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