Q: My mother passed away without a will in Dane Cty, Wisconsin. My sister & I were her only children living in other states
Total value of her personal property approx $500 & a joint checking acct with sister & self ($1500). At time of death she was in skilled nursing facility & enrolled Care Wisconsin (paid monthly amount from only income of SS) & Medicaid. Her personal property could not be used by us. Are we required to fill out any documents for Wisconsin? If yes, what are they?
A: If you and your sister are your Mom's only children, and she died while unmarried, then you will be her only heirs under the laws of intestate succession. If you need to transfer the Bank Account to you and your sister, there is a simplified process for estates under $50,000 where you can use a Transfer by Affidavit instead of opening a full formal probate. If your Mom was receiving Medicaid assistance from the State of Wisconsin at her death, then the State of Wisconsin may have a claim on the funds left in any checking account. If you use the Transfer by Affidavit form there are instructions whereby you must notify the State of Wisconsin via Certified Mail of any funds in the account before transferring it into your name and distributing the funds to your Mom's heirs. The State of Wisconsin is repaid first before you can distribute funds to heirs, however there are some expenses of estate administration that you can deduct before you pay back the State of Wisconsin.
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