The court-supervised process (probate) that’s used to distribute property after someone passes away is not uncommon in the state of Wisconsin. Probate doesn’t happen in every instance, but it is common enough that it’s smart to try and understand the basics. Wisconsin’s process is not all that different from other states, but many people do have questions about it...especially when it comes to the average cost of probate in Wisconsin.
Probate costs can range. Ultimately, it just depends on things like:
If an heir contests the Will
How big the estate is
How complex the estate is
If there are any Estate Plans (and if so, what are they)
If a probate attorney is retained
Common Probate Fees in Wisconsin
While there can be a variety of probate costs in the state of Wisconsin, some fees are more common than others. You may want to be prepared for the following:
Miscellaneous filing fees
Various court costs
Attorney fees (if you hire a probate attorney)
The compensation for a Personal Representative - Wisconsin state law uses statute to set Executor fees (but it’s generally about two percent)
Various professional fees
Necessary/required Surety Bonds
Common Questions About Probate in Wisconsin
How Long Does Probate Take in Wisconsin?
How long probate in Wisconsin will take can range. It can be anywhere from around six months to about a year for an average estate in Wisconsin to be settled. Keep in mind, the bigger and more complicated the estate is, the longer it will likely take to wrap up.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Wisconsin?
Because probate lawyer fees in Wisconsin vary, it’s not easy to give an exact number in terms of cost. Experienced probate attorneys can bill via a flat fee, or they may bill by the hour.
How to Avoid Probate in Wisconsin?
Some people would rather avoid probate, which is understandable. It can be a difficult process. It’s often stressful and complicated, but, you might be able to find a way around it through any of the following strategies:
Establish a Revocable Living Trust
Title property as Joint Tenancy
Create assets that are TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
Keep in mind, estates with a value that doesn’t meet or exceed the “small estate” threshold can likely avoid probate, or at the very least, they may be able to go through a minimal version of it.
What is Considered a Small Estate in Wisconsin?
If an estate is valued at less than $15,000 in Wisconsin, and there is no Will and the decedent was not married, you may be able to use what’s known as a summary probate procedure. Note the state does not have an Affidavit procedure for small estates.
Who Pays Probate Fees in Wisconsin?
Worried about how to pay for probate? Don’t be...all the costs, including probate attorney fees in Wisconsin can be paid for by the estate.