FAQs

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  • What if there is no Will? What happens then?

    If there are assets that need to go through probate, the family may recommend to the Court who should be appointed Personal Representative. That person then transfers the assets to the decedent’s heirs per the State’s intestate statutes.
  • If there is a Will, do I have to file it with the Register in Probate Office even though there is no probate estate?

    Yes. Wisconsin Statutes require a decedent’s ORIGINAL Will be filed with the Register in Probate Office within 30 days of the decedent’s death.
  • Do we have to hire an attorney?

    In a Formal Administration, you must hire an attorney. In the other probate proceedings it is not required. However, an attorney with knowledge of probate proceedings is able to assist the family in handling all estate matters from filing the paperwork to transferring the assets to the heirs of the estate. He/She may be able to complete an estate faster than an individual due to his/her expertise.
  • I am nominated as Personal Representative in the Will. Doesn’t that give me the power to transfer all the assets?

    No. If there are assets that must go through probate to be transferred, the person nominated as Personal Representative in the Will petitions the Court to obtain the power to transfer the assets by filing the documentation to start a procedure. In Formal or Informal Administration, the Court issues Domiciliary Letters to the person nominated in the Will as Personal Representative. Those Domiciliary Letters give the person the authority to transfer the assets as directed by the Will. In the other types of probate, Domiciliary Letters are not issued, however, by Order of the Court, the assets may be transferred by the nominated Personal Representative.
  • If there are solely-owned assets, what do we have to do?

    Estimate the value of the decedent’s solely-owned assets. There are different types of probate actions and which one you use usually is determined by the value of the estate:

    • Transfer by Affidavit Under $50,000 – used for gross estates valued under $50,000;
    • Summary Settlement & Summary Assignment– usually these types of probate proceedings will be used for estates valued between $20,000 and $50,000;
    • Formal & Informal Administration – usually these proceedings will be used for estates valued at more than $50,000.
  • When someone dies, do we have to go to the Probate Office?

    Only if the person had solely-owned assets that cannot pass to his/her heirs without Court action. Solely-owned assets are assets ONLY in the decedent’s name. Also depending on how some of the accounts or property is titled, they may need to go through Probate.