Chatham, NJ asked in Probate for Wisconsin

Q: Estate/Probate question. See below

My brother passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. He was in the process of completing a will but did not

complete it. He has two (2) estranged children. I does have assets (condominium/car). He made it known that he wanted me to handle all of his affairs in the event of his death and we were working together to get his will done. I need to know how much I can do without involving his estranged children. I would like to at least get his estate probated. Any direction would be helpful. He lives in Madison, WI. Thank you.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Eau Claire, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: I am sorry to hear about your brother's passing. Unfortunately, if he did not complete and sign the Will before two disinterested witnesses, it will not be valid in the State of Wisconsin. Based on the facts above, it sounds likely he died "intestate" meaning his assets will pass according to his "next of kin" according to the Wisconsin laws of intestate succession. You can petition the probate court to open a probate action for your brother, and petition to have yourself serve as Personal Representative. However, first you should examine his assets and see if any of them can pass non-probate via a beneficiary designation or other means. You will have to give notice to the children throughout the probate process, and they will likely be heirs as well. I suggest you meet with an experience probate attorney who can review these facts in more detail and give you the best strategy in this situation.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.