How Long Does Probate Take In Wisconsin?

Dec 21, 2018


When it comes to an estate, the goal for most is to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process for determining heirs, paying creditors, and distributing assets of the deceased. In the State of Wisconsin, a person’s estate is required to go through the probate system if the gross amount of assets at the time of death is $50,000 or more. If an estate has to go through the probate system, how long does probate take in Wisconsin?


The time-frame that an estate will be in probate depends on many factors. A large or contested estate can take two years or longer. A small simple estate can take as long as six months. State law requires an estate be closed within 18 months. However, several counties have adopted a benchmark for completing probate within 12 months. For estates that require more time to complete, a Petition for Extension can be filed.


One reason that an estate takes a while to go through the probate process is the time allowed for creditors to file a claim against the estate. No matter the size of the estate, creditors must be notified and they have three months to file a claim against the estate.

Another reason an estate can take longer to go through the probate process are taxes. The personal representative must file any outstanding income taxes for the deceased and, if the estate is large enough, a tax return will have to be filed for the estate as well.

Other factors that increase the time-frame for the probate process can be the responsiveness of your personal representative, the size of the estate, types of assets owned, form of ownership, tax issues, or if a business is involved. One factor that will, without a doubt, impact the length of time an estate is in probate is if the Last Will and Testament is contested.


The best way to ensure a smooth and quick process is by meeting with an experienced attorney to discuss your estate planning prior to your death. They can provide you with ways to avoid probate, give you guidance on who to pick as a personal representative and prepare your documents according to state law.


Planning now can help elevate the burden on your loved ones when they are already struggling with your death. Pedersen Law Office, LLC offers free consults in all of our areas of practice and will meet with you personally to discuss your specific circumstances and see what options are right for you. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

Category: Wills & Trusts

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