If you answered yes to either question, it’s probably time to learn more about the Wisconsin probate process.
There is more to this than meets the eye. Fortunately, once you collect all the necessary information, you’ll know exactly where you stand and which steps to take in the future (regardless of your situation).
While there are many things to discuss in regards to probate, let’s start with the basics. Here is the definition of probate as provided by the American Bar Association:
“Probate is the formal legal process that gives recognition to a will and appoints the executor or personal representative who will administer the estate and distribute assets to the intended beneficiaries. The laws of each state vary, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney to determine whether a probate proceeding is necessary, whether the fiduciary must be bonded (a requirement that is often waived in the will) and what reports must be prepared. Most probate proceedings are neither expensive nor prolonged, which is contrary to the claims of many vendors selling living trust and other products.”
If nothing else, this definition should help you better understand the goal of probate and how it will impact you and your loved ones.
With the definition out of the way, let’s focus on some of the other things you need to learn about the Wisconsin probate process. Here are some details to address:
- Which probate court will handle the process? This depends largely on the area of the state in which you live.
If you’re unsure of which court will handle the probate process, you can do one of two things:
- Speak with an estate planning attorney who can point you in the right direction.
- Call around to the different courts for guidance, starting in your county.
This is one of the first steps of the probate process, so you don’t want to put it off. Instead, you should find out early on which court will be handling the process from start to finish.
- Are you familiar with the forms associated with the Wisconsin probate process? If you’ve never gone through this in the past, there’s a good chance that you don’t have a clear understanding of the many forms that are required of you.
Fortunately, you can visit the Wisconsin Court System website for access to each and every probate form. You may not need to use all of these, but it’s good to know where you can turn for access to each one.
Some of the more common forms include: Notice of Hearing Probate, Application for Informal Administration, Declination to Serve or Resignation, Waiver and Consent, Notice to Creditors, and Notice Setting Time to Hear Application and Deadline for Filing Claims.
- Should you avoid probate? When creating an estate plan, this is something to think about. There are steps you can take to help your estate avoid probate, such as using a trust instead of a will.
If you’re interested in helping your estate avoid probate, if you think this will benefit your heirs, it’s something to consider when creating your estate plan.
The steps you take next will depend on your situation. If you’re creating an estate plan, you’ll want to learn more about probate and the strategies you can use to help your estate avoid this.
If you’re faced with the probate process after a loved one passes, you need to know how things will unfold in the months to come.
Do you have questions or concerns? If so, it’s probably best to consult with an estate planning attorney. This person can review your situation and ensure that you’re on the right track at all times.
There is a lot to think about in regards to the Wisconsin probate process. Once you have the right knowledge, you’ll feel better about your situation as a whole.