Experienced Wausau Probate Attorneys
In addition to formal and informal probate, there are a number of other options for probate in Wisconsin, as well. Our attorneys can help you choose and pursue the best option based upon your personal circumstances.
While most estates must be administered through formal or informal probate, Wisconsin law provides for a number of other options, as well. These options (with the exception of ancillary administration) are generally available only for smaller estates, and provide for use of simplified procedures that vary depending on the specific circumstances involved.
In addition to handling both formal and informal probate, at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we also regularly assist clients in these other forms of probate administration. If you have questions about the options that are available, or if you need representation as a personal representative, heir, or beneficiary, we can advise and represent you every step of the way.
Transfer By Affidavit
Transfer by affidavit is an option if the decedent’s gross estate is worth no more than $50,000. This process allows the decedent’s assets to be transferred to an heir, the trustee of a trust created by the decedent, or the decedent’s guardian for distribution to the decedent’s heirs or named beneficiaries. While transfer by affidavit avoids traditional probate administration, there are certain requirements (including notice requirements and specific requirements with regard to real estate) with which the distributing heir, trustee, or guardian must comply in order to properly close the estate.
Ancillary administration is the process used to distribute a decedent’s assets that are located within the State of Wisconsin when the estate is being probated in another jurisdiction. Commencing an ancillary administration proceeding requires filing an application in the correct Wisconsin county court, and is generally best handled by an attorney. Along with the application, the applicant must also submit authenticated copies of domiciliary letters from the probate jurisdiction.
Finalization of the ancillary proceeding is subject to court approval, and the court may deny an application if it appears that the estate can be settled conveniently without ancillary administration.
In a summary assignment, the court does not appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. If the size of the estate, excluding the amount of any debts for which property in the estate serves as security, does not exceed $50,000, it will be eligible for summary assignment. Any person eligible to open the estate in probate is also eligible to file a petition for summary assignment. However, an estate is only eligible for summary assignment if its assets cannot be distributed through a summary settlement (discussed below).
A petition for summary assignment must include the following:
- A statement that the estate does not exceed $50,000 in value and cannot be administered through a summary settlement;
- Confirmation that the petitioner has used reasonable diligence to locate the decedent’s will, and a statement whether the decedent tied testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will);
- A detailed statement of all property subject to administration, including any liens or encumbrances on any assets;
- The names and addresses of the decedent’s creditors;
- The names and addresses of all other interested parties, as ascertained through the exercise of reasonable diligence;
- A statement as to whether the decedent or the decedent’s spouse received services under a long-term care program and certain other benefits.
If the decedent had a will, a copy of the will must be filed along with the petition for summary assignment.
Summary settlement is an option under two sets of circumstances. Either: (i) the decedent’s estate (less any debts secured by estate property) must be less than the total of the costs, allowances, and claims listed below; or (ii) the decedent’s estate (less any debts secured by estate property) must be less than $50,000 and the decedent must be survived by a spouse or domestic partner, one or more minor children, or both. The costs, allowances, and claims for the first option include:
- Costs and expenses of administration
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Provisions for the decedent’s family
- The decedent’s final medical expenses
- Taxes owed
- Wages owed to employees
- Property assigned to the surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Any other claims allowed
Similar to summary assignment, any person who is eligible to open the probate estate can petition for summary settlement, and summary settlement proceeds without the appointment of a personal representative.
Contact Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. to Speak with a Wausau, WI Probate Lawyer Today
If you would like more information about probate in Wisconsin, we invite you to contact us to schedule a confidential consultation. To speak with an attorney at our offices in Wausau, please call (715) 842-2291 or contact us online today.