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This article discusses part 3 of our 5-part series on key information regarding Informal Estate Administration in Wisconsin.

This article discusses part 3 of our 5-part series on key information regarding Informal Estate Administration in Wisconsin.

Publishing the Notice to Creditors or Notice Setting Time to Hear

It is your responsibility to get the Notice to Creditors or the Notice Setting Time to Hear Application and Deadline for Filing Claims (Informal Administration) published in the newspaper. When you pay the bill for the publishing, you will receive an Affidavit or Proof of Publication from the newspaper. The Court will receive the original Affidavit or Proof of Publication.

Also, every form that requires your signature to be notarized must be notarized. Remember to sign the paperwork after you've waited for the notary to see you sign it. It's possible that you'll be asked to show identification. You may generally find a notary public at your bank if you don't want to go to your local Office of Register in Probate to sign the paper. You can hire a local notary if you live in another state.  

Evaluating Assets in a Wisconsin Informal Estate Administration

Consider the Inventory as a snapshot of the fair market worth of all assets owned by the decedent on the day of death as you gather the decedent's assets in preparation for filing the Inventory form. Keep in mind that the Inventory must be filed within 6 months of the personal representative's appointment. Depending on local practice, you may be told to file the Inventory sooner. Distribute a copy of the Inventory to everyone who is interested. The Inventory is a crucial legal record that defines the fair market value of assets on the date of death, and inaccurate values can have a major influence on the personal representative and distributees of the assets specified in the Inventory. Improper valuation can lead to concerns such as income tax basis concerns and disagreements about asset proportionate distribution. Although you are not obligated to hire a trained and impartial appraiser to help you determine the worth of assets, you should examine if you have the necessary skills to appraise inventoried assets on your own. Before filing your Inventory, you may want to speak with a tax counselor or an attorney.  

Handling Claims in a Wisconsin Informal Estate Administration

If any claims are lodged against the estate, the law mandates that they be “allowed or refused in accordance with ch. 859.” If you satisfy a claim, the creditor must issue a "Receipt" stating that the claim has been fully fulfilled or settled. If you disagree with the claim, you must request "formal administration" to have a court decide the case. In front of a judge, you must be represented by an attorney. As a result, it's a good idea to hire an attorney as soon as you figure out that a claim should be denied. If a claim has been served or addressed to you as personal representative, you must serve or mail your objection, offset, or counterclaim to the claimant and file it with the court within 60 days of when the claim was mailed to or served on you as personal representative.  

Handling property in an Informal Estate Administration in Wisconsin

You will be needed to sign a deed or transfer document with the necessary legal description if you are selling or transferring an interest in real estate (not a postal address). You may want to have this crucial legal document prepared by an attorney, as errors in the legal description can impact your ownership interest in the property.  

Prepare the Final Estate Account

Prepare a final Estate Account and distribute copies to all heirs and beneficiaries. Consider the final Estate Account to be a record of what went into and out of the estate between the date of death and the date of completion. Only fill out this form after you've paid all of the decedent's outstanding expenses, including the burial bill, estate administration charges, any legitimate claims, and any relevant taxes.  

An estate can be closed at any time after the deadline for filing claims has passed, but it must be done within 12 months of the date it was opened or by the deadline set forth in the Notice of Estate Administration Deadlines, unless the Probate Registrar grants an extension.  

The Statement of Personal Representative to Close Estate is typically the last document filed in an estate, but that doesn't mean you're finished. If no new judicial procedures are underway six months after filing the statement, your appointment as personal representative ends.

Click here to continue on to part 4 of our 5-part series.  

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