Chicago, IL asked in Estate Planning for Wisconsin

Q: My grandmother past away without a valid will. My mother is in an assisted living facility and has a state payee. How

Can I go about getting the money transferred to me and I disburse it to my mother and I without giving it to her payee.

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

A: If your grandmother passed away without a Will, someone is going to have to petition to open a probate case for the Estate in the County in which your grandmother resided at death. Then someone will also have to volunteer to serve as Personal Representative (aka Executor) of the Estate (likely one of the heirs). After the Estate is opened up, your mother will eventually receive a portion of the money. I would recommend that you and your mother sit down with a qualified estate planning attorney to determine if there is some way the money can be placed in a trust for your mother's benefit. If your mother currently qualifies for need-based government benefits, then she likely does not want to inherit this money in her individual name as it may disqualify her from receiving benefits for a certain period of time. I am not sure of her exact situation, but this is one thing to look out for. Instead, if your mother is disabled, it is possible she could set up a special needs trust to accept the money on her behalf, such as a Wispact trust here in the state of Wisconsin. As far as the payee, I think you may mean a Representative Payee appointed by the Social Security Administration but I am not sure. Such a person is appointed for minor children or adults who are legally incompetent. You must follow the rules regarding the payee, whenever they were appointed, however I am not sure if the payee will have power over the inherited funds, or just other income of your mother. It depends on who appointed the payee and for what purpose. I would consult with your lawyer about this to see if you can put the money in a special needs trust that perhaps the payee could manage as well. The judge overseeing the probate case would have to approve this method so I would work closely with a probate attorney and estate planning attorney to accomplish your goals.

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