Lawyers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dakota County, Minnesota - Minnesota & Wisconsin Attorneys
home attorney bios legal services resources contact us

Probate and Estate Administration in Wisconsin ()

Home > Legal Services >
Probate An Estate In Wisconsin

Wisconsin Probate, Generally

Probating an estate in Wisconsin is the legal court process for paying a person's debts and expenses and distributing a person's property after that person’s death. In a Wisconsin probate matter, the person who has died is called the “decedent”, and his or her property is called the “estate".   

Intestate vs. Testate    
Usually, a decedent's debts are paid from the estate and any property remaining is divided among heirs or beneficiaries, according to a Will (died testate), the Wisconsin Probate Code, or the laws of intestate succession.  If the decedent did not leave a Will (died intestate), the heirs to the estate will be determined according to the Wisconsin Probate Code and/or the laws of intestate succession

Duties of the Personal Representative
In Wisconsin, the "personal representative" of the estate is a fiduciary of the decedent's estate who will administer the estate for the benefit of all beneficiaries, heirs, devisees (devise of real property), and/or legatees (bequest of personal property).  The personal representative is typically nominated by Will of the decedent and appointed by the District Court in the county where the decedent was domiciled (resided) at death.  Duties of the personal representative may include (1) collecting income from the estate property, (2) paying any and all debts, claims, and expenses of administering the estate, (3) filing all necessary estate and income tax returns and reports, and (4) preserving, distributing and settling the estate in accordance with decedent's Will, the Wisconsin Probate Code, or the laws of intestate succession.  The personal representative is usually represented by a Wisconsin probate attorney, who can assist with these duties and responsibilities.

Wisconsin's Probate Laws
The Wisconsin Probate Code can be found in chapters 851-879 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  Information and laws on guardianship can be found in chapter 54 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  Wisconsin's marital property law is codified in chapter 766 of the Wisconsin Statutes. 

Is It Always Necessary to Probate an Estate in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin probate law applies to people who lived in Wisconsin when they died and to residents of other states who owned real estate or other property in Wisconsin (ancillary administration).  Whether a matter is "probated" depends on a number of factors, including the type of property and the nature of the ownership of that property.  For example, unless real estate (a home, a cabin, a farm, etc.) was transferred into a trust or was owned as "joint tenancy" property with a right of survivorship, it usually is subject to the probate process.  (If you are considering a Will in Wisconsin, you should consult with an attorney about the ownership of any real estate and whether there are advantages to certain types of ownership.)   An estate must be probated if the real or personal property value is greater than $50,000.  If the decedent’s estate is not worth $50,000, the decedent's legal heirs may be able to collect or transfer the property by affidavit (Wisconsin Statutes Section 867.03), which may not require probate court involvement.  Transfer by affidavit allows for a small estate to keep its costs of administering the estate low.

The advice of an experienced probate attorney licensed in Wisconsin can help you decide the best manner with which to proceed in the event a loved one passes and leaves an estate for which you are responsible.  Legal representation during the probate process may also help eliminate unnecessary delays due to noncompliance with Wisconsin Statutes, the Wisconsin Probate Code and/or local rules of the Probate Court for specific counties.

Trusted, experienced probate attorneys.

Ensure that the probate process is completed efficiently and smoothly.  Our attorneys have over 45 years of combined legal experience.  We offer the experience and resources of a large firm while at the same time providing our clients with the convenience, accessibility and affordability typical of a small firm.  Our objective is to work with you to provide the assistance you need to efficiently and effectively manage your loved one's estate and to ensure compliance with applicable laws. 

Many probate proceedings in Wisconsin require no court appearance.  Also, depending upon the situation, it may never be necessary for the personal representative to travel to our office, as most of the services our attorneys provide can be dealt with via e-mail, facsimile, mail or phone.

At Taurinskas Law Firm, you'll find experienced attorneys to assist you with any probate or trust administration issues or questions you may have in Minnesota or Wisconsin.  Our law office offers a free initial consultation for probate or estate administration matters. 

A few matters you may face once it has been determined you are responsible to administer a loved one's estate may include:
  • Probate & Trust Administration
  • Formal Probate vs. Informal Probate
  • Supervised vs. Unsupervised
  • Summary Proceedings
  • Special Administration
  • Probate Property vs. Nonprobate Property
  • Intestate (no will) vs. Testate (valid will)
  • Domiciliary Letters
  • Personal Representative (Nominated vs. Appointed)
  • Creditor's Claims and other Debts of Decedent
  • Liens, including Medical Assistance Claims
  • Payment of Utilities and Collection of Rent
  • Funeral Expenses and Debts of Last Illness
  • Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property
  • Marital Property Agreement & Will Substitute Agreement
  • Situs Property
  • Real Estate Sales and Conveyances
  • Asset Identification and Distribution to Heirs and Devisees
  • Inventory, Notices, Publication, Consents, & Final Account
  • Transfer by Affidavit (Small Estate Affidavit for Assets ≤ $50,000)
  • Transfer of Interest in Property
  • Will Contests (Undue Influence, etc.)
  • Lost Original Wills, Will Copies, & Codicils
  • Ancillary Proceedings
  • Federal & State Taxes (income, estate, etc.)

P. James Taurinskas
Brian J. Taurinskas


At our law office, our lawyers provide probate and trust administration guidance and representation in all areas of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul), western Wisconsin and their surrounding communities.

Please Note:  This site contains general information and not legal advice. It is based on Wisconsin law in effect at the time of writing.  An experienced Wisconsin probate and estate planning lawyer can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.

The following information is solely for reference and educational purposes.  Taurinskas Law Firm, P.A. is not affiliated with, funded by, or endorsed by the Wisconsin State Law Library or any other local or state Department or Office of Wisconsin.

Additional information on Wisconsin Probate may be found at:

Wisconsin State Law Library
120 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Reference: 608-267-9696
Circulation: 608-266-1600
Fax: 608-267-2319

    Here you may find additional information on the following Wisconsin Probate topics:
  • What is probate?
  • When is probate necessary?
  • How will the estate be distributed to heirs?
  • What items are not subject to probate?
  • What estate taxes must be paid?
  • How do I probate an estate?
320 Bremer Bank Building
633 South Concord Street
So. St. Paul, Minnesota 55075

Established 1975
Phone:  (651) 451 - 9743
Toll-free: (888) 451 - 9743
Fax:  (651) 451 - 3967

WI PROBATE ATTORNEYS CATEGORIZED AND TAGGED IN: Probate Administration | Estate Administration | Trust Administration | Personal Representative (Executor/Executrix) | Estate Tax | Gifts | Decedent | Transfer by Affidavit (Small Estate not greater than $50,000) | Probate Court | Will Contests | Undue Influence | Holographic Will | Testamentary Trust | Heir | Beneficiary | Devisee | Fiduciary | Next of Kin | Bequeath | Bequest | Devise | Legatee| Payable-On-Death (P.O.D.) Account | Transfer-On-Death (T.O.D.) Account | Joint Tenancy | Tenancy-In-Common | Rights of Survivorship | Life Estate | Remainder Interest in Life Estate (Remainderman) | Life Insurance Proceeds | Convenience Accounts | Real Estate Transfers | Medical Lien | Debts of Decedent | Creditors' Claims | Disclaimer Interests | Insolvent Estate | Wisconsin Probate Code | Probate Procedure Statutes | Affidavit of Survivorship | Affidavit of No Probate | Personal Representative Bond | Elder Law | Irrevocable Trust | Revocable Trust | Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust | Uniform Transfers to Minors Act | Pension of Decedent | Investment Proceeds | Stock Dividends of Decedent | Probating An Estate | Probate Assets | Non-Probate Assets | Joint Assets | Cabin | Farm (Agricultural or Other) | Homestead | Million+ Dollar Estate | Surviving Spouse | Guardianship | Conservatorship | Succession Plan | Business of Decedent | Formal Administration | Informal Administration | Supervised Proceeding | Unsupervised Proceeding | Domiciliary Letters | Probate Registrar | Nominated Personal Representative | Per Stirpes | Date of Death Value | Step Up Basis | Carryover Basis | Federal Estate Tax Exemption | Wisconsin Estate Tax Exemption | Intestate Succession | Testate | Codicil (Amendment) | Original Will | Fiduciary Income Tax Return | Ancillary (Foreign) Administration | Non-Marital Property | Marital Property | Out-of-State Real Estate | Estate Planning | Wills & Trusts

Please read DISCLAIMER.

Copyright © 2001 -

At Taurinskas Law Firm, P.A., in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, we proudly represent individuals with probate and estate matters throughout western Wisconsin including: Hudson 54016 | Hudson 54082 | Hudson WI Probate Attorney | Hudson Wisconsin Estate Lawyer

The following is a nonexclusive list of counties in Wisconsin that Taurinskas Law Firm proudly serves: Ashland County | Barron County | Bayfield County | Buffalo County | Burnett County | Chippewa County | Clark County | Douglas County | Dunn County | Eau Claire County | Iron County | Jackson County | Jefferson County | La Crosse County | Pepin County | Pierce County | Polk County | Price County | Rusk County | St. Croix County | Sawyer County | Taylor County | Trempealeau County | Washburn County

Wisconsin Probate Attorneys | Wisconsin Probate Lawyers

(651), (763), (612), (651), (952), (218), (320), (715)