Probate is the process that happens after death – ensuring things or money get to the intended people. Probate can be pretty simple if people make adequate plans before death. Or it can be complicated by bad planning or family relationships. I have probated estates large and small and can guide you through the process in an efficient manner. I have probated multi-million dollar estates, small estates, and have handled estates that are stuck in litigation between family members and creditors.
Some people think that probate isn’t needed if a person died with almost no assets or all jointly-owned assets. This is not be true. To one degree or another, the probate process is required for EVERYONE who dies. There is a popular thought that probate is just a way for courts or the government to get money from the family of the deceased. Yes, in some cases, there are taxes and fees which must be paid. But the primary reason for probate is to bring an end to the person’s affairs. It involves removing the decedent’s name from accounts or property. It can include ensuring debts and final expenses are paid. It provides a “public notice” so that the entire world will know the person died and limits the time and manner that anyone can come forward to claim they are owed money from the decedent. And, as said above, it guarantees that the person’s wishes are honored.
To learn more about the Probate process, read my helpful handout: Probate
For practical information about what to do after someone dies, I have created a checklist: After Death – A Checklist
I once assisted a widow with enforcing a pre-marital agreement that her step-children didn’t agree with, ensuring that her rights were enforced after her husband died. That matter ended up in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals where I obtained an order that the decedent’s children needed to return money and property to the widow.
I helped administer multi-million dollar estates consisting of money assets, real estate, and personal property.
I work with long-time friends and acquaintances when their parents or grandparents pass, guiding them through the processes of filing and administering a probate and ensuring proper documentation is completed when beneficiaries receive their property.
I represented beneficiaries when the people responsible for distributing assets don’t do their job correctly.
If you’ve lost a loved one and want to ensure that you are complying with the law while honoring your loved-one’s intentions contact me. Most probates can be handled on a flat fee basis and involve some pretty simple paperwork. If your situation is more complicated, I will explain why and provide you with an understanding of how much representation will cost.