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Madison Clark

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

How Do I Complete The Forms Required?  

The mandatory probate forms referenced below are required in Wisconsin. A blank set of forms can be purchased from your local Probate Registrar. The Registrar will tell you whether you can print the forms in black pen or if you must type them. 

Keep in mind that the Probate Registrar cannot complete the forms for you. However, the Probate Registrar is compelled by law to verify the information you provide and, if necessary, to request additional information from you. The Probate Registrar will accept the forms for submission once they have been completed satisfactorily.  

Common Definitions

Administration: A court-supervised process for: 1) notifying creditors and interested parties; 2) determining who the heirs are; 3) collecting and inventorying assets; 4) calculating and paying federal and state taxes; 5) paying claims and administration fees; 6) transferring assets of a decedent to heirs or beneficiaries under a Will or Codicil; and 7) accounting for the disposition of assets gathered.  

Beneficiary: A person named in a Will or Codicil to receive a share of a decedent's property—also known as a legatee.  

Bequest and Devise: These terms are used to grant an interest in property in a Will or Codicil.  

Codicil: A decedent's written instrument that modifies an existing Will. To be lawfully executed in Wisconsin, a Codicil and a Will must have the signatures of two witnesses as well as the signature of the testator or someone acting on his or her behalf.  

Decedent: A person who has passed away and whose estate is being administered.  

Domicile: The location of a person's fixed and permanent home or habitation, to which he or she plans to return after a period of absence. It is a home or dwelling that is intended to be permanent for an endless or indeterminate amount of time, rather than a particular or temporary habitation.  

Fair Market Value: A property's full value is defined as the price it would sell for in an arms-length transaction on the free market between a willing seller who is not obligated to sell and a willing buyer who is not obligated to acquire it.  

Heir: Any person, including a surviving spouse, who is entitled to an interest in the decedent's property under state law's intestate succession statutes.  

Interested Person(s): One or more of the following is included: 1) any decedent's heir (even if not named in the Will or Codicil); 2) any beneficiary specified in the Will or Codicil, which may include a trust beneficiary, an existing trust trustee, and a nominated trustee in the Will or Codicil; 3) the Personal Representative appointed in the Will.  

Intestate: Lacking a legal Will. When a person dies "intestate," the assets are distributed according to the laws of intestate succession.  

Issue: Children, grandkids, great-grandchildren, and lineal descendants of more distant degrees, including those who occupy that connection by virtue of adoption (under Sec. 854.20, Wis. Stats.) and non-marital children and their lineal descendants.  

Legal Description: A detailed description of land recorded in a document filed with the register of deeds, such as a deed. This is usually done using a lot number in a platted and recorded subdivision or with "metes and bounds." A “legal description” is not a postal address.  

Per Stirpes: Property is split into equal portions for the decedent's children, one share for each surviving child and one share for each deceased child; the deceased child's part is split among the deceased child's surviving issue (i.e. through right of representation). Domiciliary Letters issued by the court or the Probate Registrar serve as proof of this authorization. In a Will or Codicil, a personal representative can be named.  

Probate: The legal process of transferring property from one person to Probate is the act of proving the validity of a Will in court procedures, and probate of a decedent's assets is the process of administering the assets as instructed by the Will. However, the terms probate and probate administration are frequently linked with the administration of the estates of those who died intestate (without a Will), as well as the estates of minors, incompetents, and people who are unwilling or unable to handle their income or assets.  

Probate Registrar: A court officer tasked with carrying out the court's powers in informal estate procedures.  

Testate means "to have made a valid Will." When a person dies "testate," the assets are distributed according to the Will.  

Testamentary Trust: A Will-based arrangement in which one party (usually a bank) is designated by the court as trustee and holds and distributes property for the benefit of another.  

A trustee is a person who holds the title or power over property in trust.  

Will: A document that specifies the distribution of property after death and names who will care for and distribute property, if properly executed prior to death. It could appoint someone to look after minor children or manage assets in a testamentary trust. To be lawfully executed in Wisconsin, a Codicil and a Will must have the signatures of two witnesses as well as the signature of the testator or someone acting on his or her behalf.

Checklist For Opening An Informal Estate Administration

  • Application for Informal Administration (PR-1801)
  • Proof of Heirship (PR-1806)
  • Original Will (and Codicils, if any)
  • Waiver and Consent (Informal Administration) (PR-1803) Consent to Serve (PR-1807)
  • Statement of Informal Administration (PR-1808)
  • Signature Bond in Estate or Trust Proceedings (PR-1809) OR Surety Bond (if required)
  • Domiciliary Letters (PR-1810)
  • Notice to Creditors (PR-1804) OR
  • Notice Setting Time to Hear Application and Deadline for Filing Claims (PR-1805)
  • Probate Claims Notice (if required) (#HCF-13033)
  • Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (IRS Form 56)
  • Declination to Serve or Resignation (if necessary) (PR-1802)
  • Order Appointing Guardian ad Litem or Attorney (if required) (GF-131) Consent to Serve as Trustee (if necessary) (PR-1930)
  • Letters of Trust (if necessary) (PR-1931)

Click here to go to part 1 of our 5-part series on key information regarding Informal Estate Administration in Wisconsin.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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