Articles Tagged with Probate

pexels-photo-1128317-300x251No one likes to consider the prospect of tragedy striking, especially when children are young, but according to this article in the Lodi News Sentinel, “Planning for what comes last,” estate planning is especially important for families just starting out. When the children grow up, estate planning is important to protect the children, making their lives easier, when the time comes to pass assets along.

Think of an estate plan as a gift for the next generation, as is making funeral plans in advance. You can’t assume that your adult children will know what you want for your funeral and you don’t want them to have to make decisions during a time of great sadness. Continue reading

digital assetsEstate planning must now include intangible assets that didn’t exist just a few years ago, as well as those that have been around since people started owning private property. Today, says Forbes in the article “Estate Planning for Crypto And Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know,” there are new kinds of property and new laws that govern them.

Some of the old rules still apply and you need a trust or a will. One of the things in that trust or will, needs to be naming a trustee or executor who will be in charge of ensuring that your assets are distributed, according to the wishes you state in your trust or will. When it comes to digital assets, things get a little tricky. Continue reading

pexels-photo-534204-300x166Eight attorneys representing individuals and organizations connected to the late artist Robert Indiana, creator of the iconic “LOVE” sculpture, are asking that future hearings be held in closed sessions to protect people’s privacy and the value of some of his works of art, reports Press Herald in a recent article titled “Attorneys want hearings on the value of Robert Indiana’s estate held behind closed doors.”

Atty. James Brannan, who represents Indiana’s estate, is requesting information in a testimonial hearing to better determine the estate’s value. Continue reading

pexels-photo-326576-300x175Finding an estate planning attorney who can help you create an estate plan that works for your family, is an important first step in creating an estate plan. You’ll want someone you are comfortable with, who is respected by other professionals and will be able to help your loved ones during emotional times. An article from The Balance, “Tips for Finding an Estate Planning Attorney,” offers some useful pointers.

Ask your accountant. Many estate planning attorneys work closely with accountants to address tax issues. Your accountant should know a few estate planning attorneys that they work on a regular basis. They are likely to need to coordinate some issues, so a good working relationship between the two is a plus.

Ask another attorney. If you have retained attorneys in setting up a business, buying a home or reviewing a contract, ask that attorney who they use for estate planning. You should also ask about client referrals. Attorneys in other practice areas recognize that their knowledge about business law or real estate law, does not give them the same training and skill set of an estate planning attorney. Continue reading

pexels-photo-518543-300x200Assuming you are the type of person who still reads local print newspapers, you might wonder what those “Notice to Creditors” you sometimes see in the back pages mean. These notices are actually part of the probate administration process in Wisconsin. While it might seem antiquated to rely on print notices in the digital age, they do serve a critical legal function.

Informing Creditors of the Deadline to File Their Claims

When someone dies, their debts do not die with them. A creditor retains the right to seek payment of the debt from the decedent’s estate. But the creditor may not know the decedent has passed away, and conversely, the personal representative of the estate may not be aware of all of the decedent’s creditors. Continue reading

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Retirement

“Many seniors may be more focused on their bucket lists, than worrying about having their financial affairs in order.”

Seniors should be having some heart-to-heart discussions with their spouses and loved ones about their wishes concerning their assets and their final days, according to Intermountain Catholic in “Retirees Have Several Financial Issues to Consider.” After a loved one dies, family members are often left dealing with the expenses of their medical care and funeral. To be left to deal with these issues while grieving, adds another layer of heartbreak. It doesn’t have to be this way.

digital assetsProbate in Wisconsin has traditionally dealt with two kinds of property – the physical and the intangible. The latter, intangible, refers to assets like bank accounts or stocks that lack a physical form yet serve as a defined store of value.

These days there is another, distinct type of intangible property that we all possess in one form or another: digital property. This encompasses everything from your email to your iTunes account with thousands of downloaded songs and videos. Up until recently, figuring out what happened with your digital property upon death meant looking at the terms of service for every company with which you do business. In other words, Facebook may say one thing when it comes to whether or not your estate can access your profile post-death, while Google may say something completely different with respect to the fate of your Gmail account. Continue reading

tod-300x168There are many estate planning tools available in Wisconsin to individuals who want to transfer property without going through the formal probate process. One such tool is a transfer on death (TOD) deed. As the name suggests, this is a deed to real property that names a beneficiary who becomes owner upon the original owner’s death.

A TOD deed allows the real property to pass outside of probate, similar to how a named beneficiary receives a retirement account or other asset with a payable-on-death beneficiary designation. Keep in mind, however, that the beneficiary has no ownership rights under a TOD deed until the owner dies. The owner is free to amend or revoke a TOD deed at any point during his or her lifetime. Continue reading

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For many Wisconsin residents, administering a parent or relative’s estate may be their first extended interaction with the legal system. If you find yourself in the position of a first-time personal representative or executor, you may wonder if it is even necessary to hire an experienced probate and trust administration lawyer. After all, if your relative’s estate only has a few assets–maybe nothing more than a house and a checking account–you can surely handle everything on your own and spare the expense of a lawyer, right?

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gavel-1238036-639x427-300x201Probate administration is the legal process of distributing a deceased Wisconsin resident’s property in accordance with the terms of his or her will, or if there is no will, under the state’s intestacy laws. Probate is also when anyone to whom the deceased owed money can present claims for payment. This includes health care providers, credit card companies, and even family members of the deceased.

Court Dismisses Son’s “Frivolous” Lawsuits Against Mother’s Estat

Under Wisconsin law, a creditor may demand “formal proceedings” in probate court to resolve any disputed claim against the estate. Probate court is the proper place to resolve such issues. In other words, a family member or other creditor should not initiate civil litigation outside of the probate administration process.

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