Month: November 2017

Who can Serve as the Executor to My Estate?

Picking an executor to your estate is an important part of your estate planning process and should be done with a lot of thought and consideration about who is best to carry out your final wishes and ensure posthumous dispersal of your assets. Sometimes referred to as the “personal representative,” the executor is tasked with protecting your estate by settling debts, paying taxes, and ensuring assets are properly transferred to beneficiaries.

Executors have tremendous power over an estate and must make an assessment of all the deceased’s assets and debts and may even be able to sell of or liquidate property to help settle those debts. For those reasons and others, courts do set a standard all executors must meet and even leave open the possibility of the individual being excluded from serving as the personal representative altogether.

Wisconsin law only has two written requirements for persons to serve as executors of an estate, which are that the individual must be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind. While some states exclude persons convicted of a felony from serving as the personal representative of an estate, Wisconsin places no such restrictions on the person assuming that role.

Situations that would exclude someone from being deemed of sound mind would include court judgements declaring the person to be incapacitated. Probate courts overseeing the will may also reject someone from serving as an executor if good cause can be shown that he or she has a conflict of interest or the capacity to carry out the deceased’s last will and testament.

A conflict of interest can be any situation where the executor would stand to gain from improperly administering the estate. This does not necessarily mean an heir cannot serve as the executor to the estate, but that he or she must not unjustly enrich himself or herself through business dealings overseeing the probate process.

Furthermore, while Wisconsin estate planning law does not prohibit a person living out of state from being the executor, he or she must generally name someone as a resident agent to receive paperwork related to the probate process. However, it is ultimately up to the probate court whether to accept or reject someone from becoming the executor to the estate.

For these reasons and so many others, it is generally best practice to appoint someone close and trustworthy who also lives in state to serve as your executor. It typically takes week and months to pass estates through the probate process and requires someone dedicated and honest to ensure that your last wishes are carried out and your loved ones and friends receive the assets you deem them worthy to receive after your passing.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

Avoiding Formal Probate in Wisconsin

While Wisconsin courts try to move estates as quickly as possible through the probate process, some estates can take longer than others to gain the necessary approvals. If the probate court decides the estate needs to undergo formal probate, it could take much longer and become more costly.

Although not every estate can avoid undergoing formal probation, in most circumstances it should be unnecessary, especially if proper estate planning is done. By taking the time to sit down, think, and plan for the future, most folks can leave their estate is the best possible condition and avoid a long and distracting process.

Most estates in Wisconsin pass through the informal probate process with minimal supervision by a Probate Registrar in the county where the deceased lived. Also referred to as the Register in Probate, this office assists the judiciary and public by handling estates, guardianships, trusts and involuntary commitments.

An estate will usually not have to enter formal probate, which usually entails supervision by the county Circuit Court, as long as the deceased created a will before his or her passing and the executor of the estate follows certain administrative procedures. Instead of a Probate Registrar handling the estate, the case is instead heard before a judge who will need to approve various actions taken by the administrator of the estate.

Estates without wills are known as being in intestacy and will automatically need to undergo formal probate and follow Wisconsin’s inheritance laws. Wills may also need to enter into formal probate before a court if beneficiaries or other interested parties step forward to make claims to the estate, even if the deceased created a last will and testament.

When administering an estate through the probate process, the executor of the estate will need to secure waivers and consent from beneficiaries. When beneficiaries enter their waivers and consent, they are essentially telling the court that they no longer wished to be notified of hearings about the case and allow the executor to follow through with the wishes in the deceased’s last will and testament.

Because heirs can raise objections to their share of an estate, and possibly enter the estate into a formal probate, individuals should consider the emotions and considerations of heirs when drafting a will. By letting heirs know ahead of time about their shares of the estate, it may be possible to mediate disputes and give family the time to properly process the outcomes of the will.

Should the estate need to undergo a formal probate process, whether supervised or unsupervised, you will need a Wisconsin trusts and estate lawyer to help represent the executor of the estate at court hearings. However, consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer when crafting a last will and testament can help plan for and attempt to prevent an estate from ever needing to go through a time consuming and expensive formal probate.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

Avoiding Formal Probate in Wisconsin

While Wisconsin courts try to move estates as quickly as possible through the probate process, some estates can take longer than others to gain the necessary approvals. If the probate court decides the estate needs to undergo formal probate, it could take much longer and become more costly, which is why avoiding formal probate is so appealing.

Although avoiding formal probate isn’t possible for every estate, in most circumstances it can be accomplished, if proper estate planning is done. By taking the time to sit down, think, and plan for the future, most folks can leave their estate is the best possible condition and avoid a long and distracting process.

Most estates in Wisconsin pass through the informal probate process with minimal supervision by a Probate Registrar in the county where the deceased lived. Also referred to as the Register in Probate, this office assists the judiciary and public by handling estates, guardianships, trusts and involuntary commitments.

An estate will usually not have to enter formal probate, which usually entails supervision by the county Circuit Court, as long as the deceased created a will before his or her passing and the executor of the estate follows certain administrative procedures. Instead of a Probate Registrar handling the estate, the case is instead heard before a judge who will need to approve various actions taken by the administrator of the estate.

Estates without wills are known as being in intestacy and will automatically need to undergo formal probate and follow Wisconsin’s inheritance laws. Wills may also need to enter into formal probate before a court if beneficiaries or other interested parties step forward to make claims to the estate, even if the deceased created a last will and testament.

When administering an estate through the probate process, the executor of the estate will need to secure waivers and consent from beneficiaries. When beneficiaries enter their waivers and consent, they are essentially telling the court that they no longer wished to be notified of hearings about the case and allow the executor to follow through with the wishes in the deceased’s last will and testament.

Because heirs can raise objections to their share of an estate, and possibly enter the estate into a formal probate, individuals should consider the emotions and considerations of heirs when drafting a will. By letting heirs know ahead of time about their shares of the estate, it may be possible to mediate disputes and give family the time to properly process the outcomes of the will.

Should the estate need to undergo a formal probate process, whether supervised or unsupervised, you will need a Wisconsin trusts and estate lawyer to help represent the executor of the estate at court hearings. However, consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer when crafting a last will and testament can help plan for and attempt to prevent an estate from ever needing to go through a time consuming and expensive formal probate.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

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