If you are in Wisconsin and have recently lost a loved one, dealing with the legalities of their estate can be daunting. Probate is the process of handling a deceased person's affairs and distributing their assets according to their will or the laws of the state. A probate lawyer can help you navigate this process and ensure that everything is handled properly. In this article, we will discuss the role of a probate lawyer and how they can assist you in Wisconsin.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person's estate. This includes gathering their assets, paying their debts and taxes, and distributing their remaining property to their heirs. The process can be complex, time-consuming, and emotional, which is why many people choose to hire a probate lawyer to guide them through it.
Understanding Probate in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, the probate process can be either formal or informal. Formal probate involves court proceedings, while informal probate does not. The type of probate that is necessary depends on the value of the estate and whether or not the deceased had a valid will. If the estate is worth less than $50,000 and there are no real estate assets, an affidavit procedure can be used to transfer the property to the heirs. If the estate is worth more than $50,000, a formal or informal probate proceeding may be necessary.
How a Probate Lawyer Can Help
A probate lawyer can assist you in several ways during the probate process. They can help you with:
1. Gathering and Managing Assets
One of the first things a probate lawyer will do is help you identify and gather the deceased person's assets. This can include bank accounts, real estate, investments, and personal property. They will also help you manage these assets and ensure that they are properly accounted for throughout the process.
2. Preparing and Filing Documents
Probate requires a lot of paperwork, including petitions, inventories, and accountings. A probate lawyer can help you prepare and file all the necessary documents and ensure that they are filled out correctly and on time.
3. Paying Debts and Taxes
Before any assets can be distributed, the deceased person's debts and taxes must be paid. A probate lawyer can help you identify and pay these debts, as well as file any necessary tax returns.
4. Distributing Assets
Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs. A probate lawyer can help ensure that this is done properly and in accordance with the law.
Contact a Probate Lawyer in Wisconsin
If you need assistance with the probate process in Wisconsin, contact Heritage Law Office today. Our experienced and knowledgeable probate lawyers can help guide you through this difficult time and ensure that everything is handled properly. Contact us either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation today.
Wisconsin Probate Services
Heritage Law Office provides a variety of probate services throughout Wisconsin, including in the following cities:
- Green Bay
- Eau Claire
- Elm Grove
- Fox Point
- Whitefish Bay
We also offer remote, phone, and online appointments, so you can receive our services wherever you are. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the role of a probate lawyer in Wisconsin?
A probate lawyer assists in the process of probate, which involves administering a deceased person's estate. They help in gathering and managing the assets, preparing and filing necessary documents, paying the deceased's debts and taxes, and finally, distributing the remaining assets to the heirs. It can be an emotionally draining and complicated process, hence hiring a probate lawyer ensures that everything is handled correctly and efficiently.
2. How does probate work in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, the probate process can either be formal or informal. The type of probate depends on the value of the estate and whether or not the deceased had a valid will. Estates worth less than $50,000, with no real estate assets, can use an affidavit procedure to transfer property to the heirs. However, if the estate is worth more than $50,000, formal or informal probate proceedings may be necessary.
3. What services can I expect from a probate lawyer?
A probate lawyer assists with several crucial aspects during the probate process. These include helping identify and gather the deceased's assets, preparing and filing crucial probate paperwork, paying off the deceased's debts and taxes, and ensuring that the remaining assets are distributed properly to the heirs.
4. How Long Does Probate Take in Wisconsin?
The duration of the probate process in Wisconsin can vary greatly, but it usually takes between 6 months to a year. This timeline may be extended if there are complicated assets, disputes among heirs, or if the will is contested. Hiring a probate lawyer can often streamline the process and may help to resolve it more quickly.
5. How Can I Avoid Probate in Wisconsin?
There are several strategies that can help to avoid probate in Wisconsin. These can include setting up joint ownership of property, designating beneficiaries on accounts, creating a revocable living trust, or giving away assets during your lifetime. A probate lawyer can help you identify the best strategy for your situation.