Formal and Informal Administrations

Probate is a court-supervised process for transferring ownership of a deceased person's assets.  If the deceased person has a Will, the probate process will determine if the Will is valid and, if so, distribute the person’s net probate estate as the Will directs.  If the deceased person did not leave a valid Will and has sufficient assets subject to probate, there will still be a probate with the net probate estate being distributed to those beneficiaries set by law. 

With formal administration a judge presides over the probate proceeding.  With informal administration, the county’s register in probate presides.  If someone challenges the Will or if other contested issues arise, there will likely be a formal administration and a probate judge will resolve such disputes.

Informal administration is more streamlined than formal and usually requires fewer court appearances.

A lawyer assists the personal representative (sometimes called the executor) in fulfilling his or her duties in administering the estate through probate.


Small Estates

If the deceased person’s assets total less than $50,000, probate is probably not necessary, and the person’s assets can be transferred with a "transfer by affidavit" form.   

Depending on a person’s circumstances and estate planning goals, a lawyer can help in setting up an estate plan to avoid probate and the expense and delay that accompanies probate.    




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Wauwatosa, WI 53226



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