5217 S 51st St, Greenfield, WI 53220

Georgia Konstantakis

Milwaukee Probate Lawyer

Your probate services covered

  • Flat rate fees
  • 28 years of experience
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Your Milwaukee probate lawyer services covered

What is probate?

A Milwaukee probate lawyer looks over all values of the case. When a person passes away without the necessary documents to outline the future of their estate, their estate will enter Probate. Probate is a court-supervised process with four primary objectives:

  1. Validate a person’s will (if any) 
  2. Distribute a deceased person’s assets to the legal beneficiaries or heirs
  3. Determine any debts and taxes that need to be paid
  4. Determine the claims of creditors.

Through this process, the rights of surviving spouses, creditors, and beneficiaries of the estate will be protected. It ensures that once the property is transferred to heirs or beneficiaries, it is free from any creditors’ claims. This process is guided by a personal representative titled by the deceased or appointed by the court.

Our probate lawyer specialization

Our expert team offers personalized solutions, transparent communication, and compassionate support, ensuring a smooth process during challenging times. Trust us to handle the details while you focus on what matters. Schedule your consultation today!

The probate process in wisconsin

Probate is a legal process that happens after someone passes away. When a person dies, they usually leave behind assets like property, money, or possessions. Probate is the way the legal system manages and distributes these assets to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. That is where you look to hire a probate lawyer that is well recognized.

Here’s a simplified overview of how probate works:

  1. Initiating Probate: When a person dies, someone (usually a family member or a designated executor named in the deceased person’s will) initiates the probate process by filing a petition in court.
  2. Validating the Will: If there’s a will, the court needs to validate it. This means ensuring that the will is legally valid and was made by the deceased person while they were of sound mind. If there’s no will, the process is based on state laws regarding intestacy (dying without a will).
  3. Appointing an Executor: If there’s a will, the court appoints an executor (the person named in the will) to carry out the deceased person’s wishes. If there’s no will, the court may appoint an administrator to handle the estate.
  4. Identifying and Valuing Assets: The executor or administrator is responsible for identifying and valuing all the assets owned by the deceased person. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings.
  5. Paying Debts and Taxes: Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, the estate must settle any outstanding debts and taxes. This includes funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and any estate taxes that may apply.
  6. Distributing Assets: Once debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries as outlined in the will or according to state law if there’s no will.
  7. Closing the Estate: After all debts are paid, taxes are settled, and assets are distributed, the court officially closes the probate estate.

It’s worth noting that probate can be a time-consuming and potentially costly process. Some assets, like those held in a living trust or joint tenancy, may bypass probate and go directly to the beneficiaries.

57
Contested probate cases we have worked on
57
Total Probate cases

How does a contested probate work?

Contested probate occurs when there’s a dispute or disagreement over the validity of the will or the way the probate process is being handled. This can lead to legal challenges and courtroom battles among family members, beneficiaries, or other interested parties. Because this process is lengthy its best recommended to hire a Milwaukee probate lawyer Let’s break it down with some examples:

  1. Disputes over the Validity of the Will:
    • Example: Imagine a situation where a family member claims that the deceased person was coerced or unduly influenced when creating the will. They may argue that the will doesn’t accurately represent the deceased person’s true wishes, leading to a dispute over the validity of the will.
  2. Challenges to the Executor or Administrator:
    • Example: If there’s a disagreement over the choice of the executor or administrator, family members might contest the appointment. They may argue that the appointed person is unfit for the role, perhaps due to conflicts of interest, incompetence, or improper conduct.
  3. Claims of Undue Influence:
    • Example: Suppose a sibling receives a more significant share of the inheritance, and other family members believe that this was a result of undue influence by that sibling. They may contest the will, alleging that the favored sibling manipulated or pressured the deceased person into making an unequal distribution.
  4. Allegations of Fraud or Forgery:
    • Example: If someone suspects that the signature on the will is forged or that fraudulent activities were involved in the creation of the will, they may contest it on grounds of fraud or forgery. This could include presenting evidence that the deceased person did not actually sign the will.
  5. Questions Regarding the Mental Capacity of the Deceased:
    • Example: A family member may contest the will by claiming that the deceased person lacked the mental capacity to understand the consequences of their decisions when creating the will. They might argue that the person was not of sound mind at the time the will was made.
  6. Disputes Over Asset Distribution:
    • Example: In situations where the deceased person had multiple marriages or blended families, disputes may arise over which assets should go to which family members. This can lead to contested probate as different parties vie for a more significant share of the estate.

Our milwaukee probate lawyer process

  1. First, an application is filed within the Probate Court located in the county where the decedent last resided.
  2. Once you commence court action, you must notify all heirs or interested parties of the estate.
  3. In order to commence court action, the will (if any) must be admitted to the probate court. This gives all interest parties/heirs a chance to contest the will if they don’t agree with its contents. If there is no will, the court will determine the order of priority in which the designated heirs will receive estate property, this is known as intestate succession. Generally, the order is as follows: spouse, children, parents, siblings, and children of siblings.
  4. If there is no Will, the court will determine who will act as Personal Representative (the person who is in charge of the estate, marshals all the assets, and makes distributions).
  5. Publish a Notice to Creditors in the appropriate county news paper to give creditors a chance to submit a claim against the estate. If the claim is submitted in a timely manner, you must pay creditors who file a claim against the estate. Creditors may only make a claim against the estate and not the family members personally.
  6. The Personal Representative’s job is to move all estate assets into one estate checking account. 
  7. Prepare a statement to the court which is known as an inventory. The inventory shows the court what assets are in the estate.
  8. Once the inventory is established, the Personal Representative must pay all debts of the estate and then close out the estate.
  9. A Personal Representative is entitled to 2% of the estate assets.
  10. The probate court will also collect 0.02% of the estate inventory.
  11. It is up to the Personal Representative to prepare a final accounting to the court and then close out the estate and distribute money to beneficiaries.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT probate

The duration of the probate process can vary widely depending on factors such as the complexity of the estate, local laws, and any disputes that arise.  However there are a few categories that can help break things down:

  1. Simple Estates: If the estate is relatively straightforward, with clear documentation, few assets, and no disputes, probate might be completed within a few months. In some jurisdictions, a simplified or expedited probate process might be available for estates that meet certain criteria.
  2. Moderate Complexity: For estates with moderate complexity, such as multiple assets, a small number of beneficiaries, and no major disputes, probate could take around six months to a year.
  3. Complex Estates: If the estate is complex, involving substantial assets, multiple properties, numerous beneficiaries, unresolved debts or claims, or legal challenges to the will, probate could take a year or more to resolve. Complex estates might involve negotiations with creditors, appraisals of various types of property, and legal proceedings that extend the process.
  4. Contested Estates: If there are disputes over the validity of the will or claims against the estate, probate can be significantly prolonged. Legal battles can extend the process for several years in some cases.

A probate case can be very complex and hard to navigate. If you have an attorney by your side it can be extremely helpful, as it lessens the risk of any mistakes that could harm your future. 

If you want to challenge a Will or Trust, you will need an attorney as a representative for your interests. 

No. It will first go to the individual’s spouse if alive. If not, then it will go to any surviving children. If no family member claims the estate of an individual who has passed, THEN it will go to the state. 

It is the process of distributing a deceased person’s estate to their rightful heirs. It is beneficial to have a Will or Trust made before you pass, as it makes the legal process easier for your loved ones. If you plan ahead and state the executors of certain estates it will be easier for courts to distribute your properties. 

If the debt claims are valid, a process of negotiation and prioritization of the debt begins within the estate. Depending on funds in addition to potential taxes, assets may need to be sold to cover all debts.

Estate planning involves arranging your assets and personal affairs to ensure they’re managed and distributed as you intend, both during your life and after. This includes creating a will, setting up trusts, designating powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions, and outlining your preferences for medical treatment. 

Learn more…

Avoiding probate might sound like a big, complicated thing, but there are some pretty straightforward ways to do it. Imagine you’re in high school, and think of it like finding shortcuts to make things easier.

  1. Create a Living Trust:
    • Picture a trust like a VIP pass for your stuff. By setting up a living trust, you can transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, making it so they don’t have to go through the probate process when you’re not around.
  2. Joint Ownership:
    • Imagine teaming up with a friend on a school project – it’s kinda like that. If you co-own things with someone, like a house or a bank account, the ownership can smoothly transfer to the surviving person without probate.
  3. Beneficiary Designations:
    • Think of this like picking a partner for a dance. For certain things, like life insurance policies or retirement accounts, you can name beneficiaries. These lucky individuals get the goods directly, no probate dance required.
  4. Payable-on-Death (POD) and Transfer-on-Death (TOD) Accounts:
    • These are like secret envelopes you give to someone you trust. By setting up your bank accounts or investments as POD or TOD, the money goes straight to the person you chose when you’re not there anymore.
  5. Small Estates Procedures:
    • Imagine a quick and easy test instead of a final exam. Some states offer simplified probate procedures for smaller estates. If your assets fall below a certain value, it’s like passing the probate test with flying colors.
  6. Gifts and Giving Away Property:
    • Picture sharing your lunch with a friend. By giving away your property or assets while you’re still here, it reduces what’s left for probate to deal with later.

 

 

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