Is there a set amount that does not justify a lawyer on a few dollars, such as under $5,000.00?

Asked on June 29, 2009 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your question is unclear.  Since it is in the Wills, Trusts and Probate section I am going to see if I can re-phrase it for you.  If I don't, please ask it again in greater detail.

Are you asking if an estate is only $5,000 does it justify getting a lawyer to Probate it?  I am not admitted in Wisconsin but Wisconsin has made provisions for Small Estates.  Some have written that the laws are very complex and difficult to understand. 

Others indicate that it is a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

You can use the simplified small estate process in Wisconsin if the value of the estate, less mortgages and encumbrances, is $50,000 or less and the deceased person is survived by a spouse or minor children. Also available if the value of the estate, less mortgages and encumbrances, does not exceed costs, expenses, allowances, and claims. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 867.01.

I would go down to the Probate Court in the County in which the decedent lived and as the clerk for help. The clerks know everything and are very helpful, especially with small estates.  And the clerk can let you know if using a lawyer in your situation is necessary.

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