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Questions Answered by Thomas B. Burton
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: My dad is going into hospice and passing soon. The house is in his name but has a loan out on the house.

He has no will. If he passes does the house transfer to me and I take over payments or does the bank get it. I’ve been living there for years

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 13, 2021

Hello I am sorry to hear about your father. If he has no Will or Trust, then the house and any of his other assets subject to probate would pass according to the laws of intestacy. If you are the only living child, you may be an heir, but if there are other children, or a surviving spouse, then... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Wisconsin on
Q: My mother has dementia and no one to take care of her in Puerto Rico. I want to bring her to Wisconsin

What can I do? She apparently has a joint account with her partner that is hospitalized and will likely end up in a nursing home by his kids. We have no information about where anything goes as his family took that over.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Sep 17, 2021

Hello I am sorry to hear about this situation with your Mother. If she has a joint bank account with another person, then generally here in Wisconsin the last surviving person ends up as the owner of that account. In Wisconsin it is possible to name a "Payable on Death" or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My mother-in-law died 2 weeks ago without a will. Wondering about selling her home & claims from Medicare.

Her spouse is deceased & my spouse is her only living child. Her mobile home has a fair market value of $25K but we will end up selling for $13K & have a willing buyer. The home is paid off & there are literally no other assets. She most likely has up to $10K owed through medicare... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Sep 10, 2021

Yes, you are correct you can use the Transfer by Affidavit method to transfer the mobile home if the total probate assets of the deceased subject to administration are less than $50,000. There is a section on the Transfer by Affidavit where you must send notice to the Estate Recovery Program via... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My husband passed away 18 months ago, without a will. We were married almost 21 years. We bought a mobile home in

We bought a mobile home only his name was on the title. I'm trying to sell the house now but was told by the realtor to contact a probate lawyer to see if I have the right to sell. The mortgage company has me sign a form starting I would be taking over the mortgage

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jul 15, 2021

Hello, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. If his name alone was on the title, then you may need to pursue a probate court action to get the mobile home titled in your name before you can sell or transfer title. If the total probate assets held in your husband's name are less... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My mother passed away and named my brother as representative. What happens if I don't consent to him?

I have no reason to believe that he will treat me fairly, In fact he has threatened me physically and wont let me in her house, yet he and my sisters have ransacked her house.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jun 29, 2021

It sounds like your brother send you a Waiver and Consent for informal probate, to allow the Will to be admitted to probate and to consent to his appointment as Personal Representative under an informal administration. If you do not sign the Waiver and Consent, then he cannot be appointed as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Does a realtor have to present a buyer's offer? Can I ask for proof that our offers were presented to the seller?

We have put offers in on multiple properties. We started to offer on the last home on a Thursday. On Monday the realtor asked that we remove a home sale contingency and wrote a new offer that was signed on Monday.. Then on Wednesday they informed me that I had to sign the document again as my... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jun 15, 2021

I am sorry to hear about this situation. If your realtor is using the standard offer to purchase form (WB-11 - Residential Offer to Purchase), which is promulgated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, then there is a line at the bottom the realtor should complete that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: If 3 people are on a deed for a house in WI joint tenancy and one person dies. The person who died

has debt. Can creditors come after his portion of house?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on May 3, 2021

If the creditor's lien or mortgage was recorded prior to the joint tenant's death, the property will pass subject to the lien. There is a Termination of Decedent's Interest Form you can file with the Register of Deeds to remove the joint tenant's name from the title to the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: Wisc home deed lists husband and wife grantee what happens upon death of spouse? What should it say to pass to survivor?

No mortgage

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Apr 26, 2021

Hello, if you want the property to pass to the surviving spouse non-probate upon the death of the first spouse, you can title the property as "John Smith and Jane Smith, husband and wife as survivorship marital property" for example. "survivorship marital property" is the key... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: As the executor and beneficiary of my late fathers will. That has already been through probate.

Do I need to show a copy of the will to the bank?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Mar 12, 2021

I would need to know more details to answer this question correctly, but generally, you are required to file the Will with the Probate Court in the County where the decedent died within 30 days of your knowledge of their death. This is required to begin opening a probate action in that County. If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: What are the steps to file Mom's will with Wisconsin probate? It is a pour over will.
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Mar 9, 2021

Hello, if it is a Pour Over Will it sounds like it was designed to be used with a trust. So first I would examine all of the assets and see if there are any that have not already been titled in the name of the trust. All assets that were placed inside the trust do not need to go through probate, as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My question is we are dealing with the Medicaid estate recovery.

My mom just passed away and we most likely will not be going through probate as most of her assets are either pod or joint with one of her children and the balance left will be under $50,000. So, do we need to get info on the Medicaid estate recovery since my dad used some title 19 funds. How do we... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Jan 19, 2021

If you use the Transfer by Affidavit, used for small estates with total probate assets less than $50,000 there is a requirement to send a copy to the DHS Estate Recovery Program by Certified Mail before you can transfer any assets under the Affidavit. Generally, the Estate Recovery Program will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Can legally transferred land be just taken back?

My husband and I were given land (paperwork was signed by both parties for the ownership transfer). The prior owner is upset about something and thinks he can call the county and just take the land back. This land had been in our name for years now and is also included in the assessment of our... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 11, 2020

If the land was legally transferred by deed, and your name is now on the title to the property, the previous owner cannot take it back unless you sign a deed granting the land back to them either by gift or by sale. The only other way I can think of for the previous owner to get the property back... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My sister-in laws boyfriend left her some money in his will. She passed away prior to him.

The will stipulates that my sister-in-laws daughter (my niece) was to receive these funds when she turns 30 if my sister-in-law were to pass away.

Probate just settled in WI last month and my Niece has now passed away also. with no alternatives listed in the will would my niece's 2... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 9, 2020

You will have to examine what the Will says happens if your niece passes away before she reaches age 30. It may say that the gift "lapses" which would mean it goes away if the person dies, or it may say that then the gift gets added back to the corpus of the estate and distributed to the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Wisconsin on
Q: What does "Responsible Party" mean legally on an assisted living application? Are an elder's children's assets at risk?

Our Wisconsin resident Mom's husband just died and we children are about to place her in assisted living.

She has assets to pay for her care for three years or so and can partial pay (a small pension and social security and veteran's benefits) after that. But if she lives long... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Dec 1, 2020

The meaning of the term "Responsible Party" should be defined by the terms of the contract the Assisted Living Facility is asking you to sign. If it is not defined in the contract, I recommend asking them for the definition before signing and I would be very cautious about signing this... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Consumer Law and Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: Mom passed away June 2020 with only $300 in her checking & a car loan.

She had a car loan that was upside down. It has been repossesed already. The bank is saying we (me & my 2 brothers) will owe the difference of what they get at auction & what she owed. None of us were on the loan with her, it was solely hers. Do we actually have to pay that? Keep in mind... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 18, 2020

The good news about death, is that the debts of the decedent die with them. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Any debts she owed at her death would be owed by her estate. So if she only had $300 total to her name and that is the total amount in her estate, this is the limit of what... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: Does a title company have to notify the buyer and seller of a house of any encumbrances they discover prior to closing?

After closing on a home, the county contacted me saying the property lines for the home I just bought are incorrect. After speaking with the county, the title company contacted the county about this issue. However, the title never notified myself or the seller about this issue prior to closing.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 13, 2020

I would carefully examine your title insurance policy on the home to see if the issue was discovered during the title search and discuss this issue with a real estate litigation attorney in your area. The title company should have run a title search before issuing the title insurance. If the issue... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: My brother is providing me with $40,000 down payment to purchase a primary residence.

The amount is intended to be a gift. Would he need to pay taxes on the amount over $15,000 or could this be claimed under the lifetime exemption? If it’s taxable, would agreeing to repay the amount upon sale of the property turn it from a gift to a loan?

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 11, 2020

Currently you can gift up to $15,000 per person per year, without filing a federal gift tax return. Therefore, your proposed gift of $40,000 from your brother would be over this amount. He could gift you $15,000 this year and $15,000 in 2021 without filing a gift tax return, or if he is married, he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: Should I allow my dad to add me to the deed of our family home? What potential liability or risk is involved?

There is still a mortgage and home equity loan on the home along with other debt my dad owes and my husband and I are looking at selling a buying a new home in the next few years.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Nov 11, 2020

I often advise clients not to add their children to the title of their home, because it can inadvertently expose the parent to creditor claims of the child through divorce, bankruptcy or a lawsuit. However, for you, if your Dad adds you to the title to the home, you would immediately become liable... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: How do I get dads house titled in my name when he died in 1988 and I have lived there ever since and taxes come care of

Dad had no will and I have been living there and paying taxes that come in his name in care of me. My brothers and I split everything and i got the house but never got the deed changed and now i am older and need to get it in my name.

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 12, 2020

Hello, I think you are going to need to work with a probate attorney, to get the house transferred from your Father's name to your name. If there was a probate when he died, the deed to the house should have been changed at that time. If you inherited the house via deed, there may be a way to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin on
Q: My son and daughter in law died. DIL had life ins with my son as beneficiary. Does that policy get spllit in the estate?
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Oct 8, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. If your daughter-in-law named your son as the primary beneficiary, then he would receive the proceeds if he survived her. If she named a contingent beneficiary, then that person would receive the assets if your son did not outlive the survival period outlined in the... Read more »

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