Probate is the process used to transfer the ownership of an individual’s assets after he or she dies. This court-supervised process will validate the will of the decendent (if one exists), formally administrate any contested issues surrounding the will, and determine any taxes and debts owed to creditors by the estate.
We are a full-service probate firm, able to assist you with complex asset valuation issues, estate tax issues and real estate transactions.
We will guide you through the probate process to help you:
- Determine which assets are subject to probate, and which are exempt
- Identify, collect, and manage assets during the probate process
- Handle payment of debts, claims, and taxes on the estate
- We are also available to serve as an expert witness in probate and estate matters
Proper estate planning is critical to ensuring that you, your loved ones, and your estate are taken care of according to your wishes should you die or become incapacitated.
We provide the following estate planning services:
- Wills – Designate who will receive your estate, who will raise your children, whether your estate will be kept in a trust, and who will be the personal representative for your estate after you die.
- Living Wills (Declarations to Physicians) – ensure that your preferences about life-prolonging medical treatment are known and carried out should you become incapacitated.
- Trusts – In your will, specify that your estate be held in a trust for the beneficiary, such as in the case of minor children as beneficiaries.
- Living Trusts – Pass your estate to heirs without going through probate by placing your estate in a living trust prior to your death.
- Marital Agreements – Provide the framework to your estate plan, especially in second-marriage settings, by addressing the complexities of Wisconsin’s Marital Property Law.
Living Trusts often require administration during the lifetime of the Grantor (the person who set up the trust) in the event of long-term disability. In addition, trusts require administration after the death of the Grantor, but usually without the involvement of the courts.
Powers of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, ensure that your financial and health care matters are cared for according to your wishes through powers of attorney. We will work with you to create:
- Durable Power of Attorney – Name an agent to act on your behalf in financial matters. Specify what rights that agent has, including the authority to sign legal documents, pay bills, and buy and sell real estate.
- Health Care Power of Attorney – Name an agent to make medical decisions according to your wishes if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Wisconsin recognizes two types of guardianship – a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate.
- A guardian of the person is an individual appointed by the court to serve for a person under legal disability (such as a minor, an elderly person unable to care for himself, or a person with developmental disabilities), to assist the ward with housing and medical care.
- A guardian of the estate is a person appointed to serve for a person under disability who requires assistance with financial matters.
Guardians work under court supervision and are usually required to file annual reports with the court. We can assist you in establishing and maintaining guardianships as your needs may require.
During a real estate transaction, we will protect your interests whether you are the seller or the buyer, through services such as the following:
Buying Real Estate
- Provide assistance whether you are working with a broker, or buying directly from a seller
- Review financing options
- Draft agreements and offers, or advise on an agency’s agreements and offers
- Examine the seller’s title
- Advise during the closing process
Selling Real Estate
- Provide assistance whether you are working with a broker, or are selling on your own
- Review contracts and offers
- Draft deeds, transfer returns, and other documents
- Advise during the closing process
If you are in an accident, we will help you determine what insurance policies will cover your costs, and whether or not you are entitled to additional compensation. Some examples of accidents include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Commercial accidents
- Home, farm, or recreational accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Intentional injuries