6633 Green Bay Road, Suite 4, Kenosha, WI 53142

Kenosha County, WI Probate Lawyer

Union Grove estate administration lawyer

Attorney Assisting With Estate and Trust Administration in Racine County

When a loved one has entrusted you to carry out their wishes as personal representative or trustee, or you have lost a loved one who did not have an estate plan, it can feel overwhelming. In addition to the grief you are experiencing, you now have additional responsibilities and may not know where to begin. Whether a loved one has passed away or you have become successor trustee of a trust for a family member or friend who can no longer manage their own affairs, you do not need to navigate this journey alone.

At Frozena Law LLC, we understand the difficulties that many families face when determining how to manage their loved ones' affairs. We can provide you with the compassionate legal assistance you need to effectively and efficiently administer a trust and/or probate estate.

The Wisconsin Probate Process

In their will, a person will typically nominate someone who they would like to serve as their personal representative (also known as an executor) and manage their estate after their death. If a person dies without a will (or "intestate"), a personal representative will be appointed by the court.

The personal representative will oversee the estate administration process, in which the decedent's assets will be fully inventoried and distributed to their beneficiaries. The personal representative will also pay any outstanding taxes and debts for the estate and handle any other necessary affairs, such as managing income earned by the estate and paying administrative expenses, court costs, and attorney's fees.

There are a few flavors of probate in Wisconsin. If the total value of the decedent's estate does not exceed $50,000, summary procedures can be used. There are several types of summary procedures, and none require the appointment of a personal representative. When the estate exceeds $50,000 in most cases, a personal representative can use informal administration during the probate process by filing the required forms and completing the proper procedures. However, in some cases, formal administration will be either required or preferred, such as when the will is contested or the decedent died without a will. While attorney representation is required during formal administration, consulting with an attorney is also recommended during informal administration. 

Certain types of assets may be exempt from probate, including property that is jointly owned (with survivorship rights) with a spouse or another party, nonprobate transfers with a surviving beneficiary, and assets that are held in a trust.

Trust Administration

If you have been named the successor trustee of an individual's revocable living trust, you may be called on to serve upon their death, similar to a personal representative, or while the individual is still living, usually if they are no longer able to handle their own affairs.

If a deceased person created and properly funded a trust during life, the assets in the trust can be distributed to their beneficiaries without the need for probate. However, a trustee will need to complete many of the same tasks as a personal representative. They will need to gather the assets, pay outstanding debts and taxes, and ensure that assets are distributed according to the terms of the trust. In some cases, all the assets may not be distributed as in a probate proceeding, but rather will continue to be managed in the trust for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries until specified conditions are met. When serving as trustee, an attorney can help ensure that you understand your responsibilities and properly administer the trust, and they may also help you navigate any disputes that may arise between beneficiaries or other family members about the terms of the trust.

Ancillary Administration

An ancillary administration is a probate proceeding in a state other than the decedent's resident state (where their will is being administered). An ancillary administration is most often needed when an individual was a resident of one state and owns real property in another state that requires probate to transfer. With thousands of lakes and beautiful terrain, Wisconsin is a home away from home for many out-of-state residents who may own a family cottage, lake home, or hunting land when they pass away. While there are multiple planning options available to avoid this additional work, an ancillary probate may need to be filed in Wisconsin to transfer real property to beneficiaries.

Contact a Pleasant Prairie Estate Administration Lawyer

When addressing the legal issues, financial matters, and practical concerns that come with managing a deceased loved one's affairs, the assistance of a compassionate, experienced attorney is crucial. Frozena Law LLC can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and work with you to complete the probate process or administer your loved one's trust. Contact us today by calling 262-237-8668. We assist with estate planning and administration in Kenosha, Sturtevant, Union Grove, Racine, Burlington, Pleasant Prairie, Bristol, and Lake Geneva.

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