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Probate is the court-supervised process of transferring property from a person who has died to his or her heirs, beneficiaries or other entities. The goal of probate is to protect the right of heirs beneficiaries and others who have an interest in the estate. The process can include verifying the will, paying debts, taxes and expenses, identifying and collecting assets, settling disputes over who is to inherit, and distributing property. Probate usually takes 6-12 months after someone's death, but complicated cases can take more than a year.
A personal representative named in the will is in charge of completing the probate process. If the will doesn't name a personal representative or someone dies without a will, the court will appoint one. A personal representative can hire an attorney to help handle the probate process.
Probate expenses and attorney fees come out of the estate. Once we have basic information about the estate, we can estimate how much probate will cost.
Probate is unnecessary in Wisconsin if the value of the estate is less than $50,000. You can file a form with the court to transfer assets if your loved one had a small estate. Some assets are exempt from probate, including marital property, jointly-owned property and property with beneficiary designations. If you are unsure if your loved one's property meets these criteria, please contact us.
Zane Law, LLC can help you through the process of being a personal representative. Our comprehensive probate services include:
Reviewing the decedent's will and/or trusts
Inventorying the estate
Preparing and filing all probate documents
Advising and guiding personal representatives and trustees
Ensuring the surviving spouse's immediate needs are met
Handling claims against the estate
- Retitling assets, if necessary
Preparing estate and income tax returns