Written by attorney Daniel J. Krause

Probate Notification Process is Avoidable

One of the worst parts of the probate process -notification of heirs- can be avoided by planning with a revocable living trust-based plan instead of a will-based plan. At the beginning of a probate case in Wisconsin, it is necessary to notify all relatives who would inherit from the deceased if the decedent had no will. These people could be estranged half-brothers or sisters, long-lost nieces and nephews, or other shirttail relatives. This notification is necessary even though a clear will does not give anything to these people. Sometimes it is necessary to hire an heir search firm or private investigator to find these people before the probate may continue. This can take months, during which time, the will cannot be admitted to probate, and the administration of the estate cannot proceed. If a person plans with a revocable living trust and the trust is fully funded, there is no requirement to notify relatives that money is being distributed after a person dies. Only the people who will get a part of the estate need to know what is going on.

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