The Banchy Law Center provides a full range of probate services to help you after the loss of a loved one. We're happy to answer all of your questions and help make this difficult time go as smooth as possible for you and your family.
What is Probate?
Probate is legal process of transferring assets of the decedent to persons, charities or institutions named in the decedent's will (or alternatively, according to law if there is no will). The probate process also includes paying the legitimate creditor claims and debts of the decedent.
Probate can be formal (court supervised) or informal (administered largely by the register in probate of the county in which the decedent lived), and usually takes six months to a year to complete. The person responsible for administration of the decedent's estate is known as the Personal Representative, who may be nominated to serve in the decedent's will.
The probate process minimally includes:
- Preparing and filing a Petition for Administration (formal or informal)
- Submitting the decedent's will (often along with the Petition)
- The nomination and appointment of a Personal Representative
- Preparing and publishing a Notice to Creditors
- Sending notices to known creditors of the decedent
- Preparing an Inventory of the decedent's estate
- Determining which claims/debts are legitimate and paying them
- Preparing a Final Account of all sources and uses of funds of the Estate
- Distribution of the decedent's assets to the appropriate beneficiaries of the decedent
- Obtaining a Closing Certificate for Fiduciaries for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
- Preparing and filing a Personal Representative's Statement to Close
In many instances additional steps must be taken in the process of administering an estate, such as, for example, if there are disputed claims or assets the value of which cannot be readily determined. In these cases, there may be many additional steps required to complete the process. An experienced probate lawyer can help guide the Personal Representative through the process.