3 Wisconsin Probate Myths Explained

Wisconsin probate

Probate is the court-supervised process in Wisconsin through which the assets from an estate are distributed. There are both Formal and Informal Probates, the formality dictates how involved the Court is in the process. This process can be lengthy and complicated or it can be short and smooth; there are steps that can be set up to ensure the process is the latter.

Unfortunately, many Wisconsin families are not aware of those steps or are held back by misconceptions about probate. An experienced estate planning lawyer can assist with the steps needed to make the time after a death easier for the family. This post can help clear up the most common misconceptions about Wisconsin probate proceedings.

Myth 1: Every estate goes into probate

Most estates are subject to probate. During the probate process, creditors have three months to file claims against the estate. There are also income taxes to file; the exact details of income tax filings depend on the estate.

However, there are some estates that do not go through the probate process. If the amount of the estate is under the  Wisconsin threshold, the estate is not subject to the probate process. Some assets in an estate may not be subject to probate.

Myth 2: There is no way to avoid probate

As discussed above, not all estates are subject to probate. Even if an estate is going through the probate process, not all assets in the estate may be part of the process. These assets may include accounts with a beneficiary designation, assets included in a trust, or property that is jointly owned. In a joint ownership, property automatically passes to the second party named in the joint ownership.

It should be noted that accounts are only excluded from probate IF the owner has specifically named beneficiaries. This is one of several estate planning steps that can make the process easier for friends and family members after a death.

revocable living trust is another way to make the distribution of assets smoother during a difficult time. Certain items of the estate are placed into a revocable living trust; the “revocable” label means the trust can be revoked at any time. There are three parties named for management and distribution of the assets: a settlor, trustee, and beneficiary (or beneficiaries). The settlor is the individual who owns the assets. The trustee manages those assets when the guarantor is alive or becomes unable to do so. The beneficiaries are the parties designated to receive those assets. A trust can be established with the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Even with a trust, a will should still be drafted to detail the distribution of other assets not included in the trust.

Myth 3: During probate, the court is responsible for every part of estate distribution

This common estate planning myth is partially true. Probate is a court-supervised proceeding, but the distribution of assets is executed by a personal representative usually named in the will. If a personal representative is not named in the will, the court appoints an executor.

The will can designate any party as the personal representative. The personal representative can be a friend, family member, or organization. A personal representative can also consult a lawyer to assist with the process. The personal representative is charged with compiling a list of assets, managing creditor claims, and distributing assets. Because this is a multi-step process, the probate process may take a year or more.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Hit by a Car? What to Do if You’re Injured

hit by a car injuries

For pedestrians and drivers, being hit by a car comes with injuries and serious consequences. As wonderful as cars are, those thousands of pounds of metal can lead to substantial property damage and medical bills. The time after a car accident with these serious consequences can be incredibly traumatizing and expensive. That’s why we’ve put together a list of steps to take after being hit by a car.

Be safe

An accident scene can be chaotic. If it is possible—without injuring yourself or endangering others—don’t move after an accident. For pedestrians, this advice can also be helpful in preventing any further injuries and can also prove that the pedestrian was crossing in a safe manner. Never leave the scene of the accident, which can incur serious legal consequences.

Keep statements to a minimum

After an accident, there are so many emotions and thoughts running through everyone’s heads. Even small statements, like “I shouldn’t have been crossing,” “I’m not hurt,” or “I’m so sorry” can be misconstrued and brought up later.

Contact the police

Any incident between a car and a pedestrian—or any vehicle hit by a car—is a serious matter that should involve the police. After being hit by a car, one or all parties involved should call the police.

Seek medical assistance for any injuries

The injuries from being hit by a car are not always clear after the accident. Those injuries caused by being hit by a car may include (but are not limited to):

  • Fractures,
  • Whiplash,
  • Head injuries,
  • Wounds,
  • Internal injuries

Often, symptoms of injuries from being hit by a car may not show up immediately and may take time to appear. For this reason, pedestrians and drivers should always get medical care as soon as they suspect any issues.

Keep all paperwork (for possibly months and years)

Being hit by a car comes with a lot of paperwork, such as police reports, insurance paperwork, and medical bills. While it may seem inconvenient to do so, pedestrians and drivers should collect and store all those documents for future reference. Even receipts for medications can be helpful when seeking compensation for injuries after being hit by a car. In addition to medical bills, pedestrians can also receive compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. (Talk to a personal injury lawyer for more information about compensation after being hit by a car.)

Wait to talk to the insurance company

Just as statements at the scene of a car accident can be misconstrued, so can statements made to the insurance company. Some insurance companies also may make low-ball offers that don’t completely cover all the expenses incurred from being hit by a car. Instead, if there are significant expenses, consult a personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer can give you advice on how to proceed to receive fair compensation.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

When to Contact & Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

when to hire a personal injury lawyers

Personal injury lawyers are more than just car accident lawyers. In fact, it is wise to contact and hire a personal injury lawyers for any case involving an injury resulting from a negligent or reckless action of another party. This can be any kind of incident (see list of possible personal injury cases) where someone is injured and needs compensation to cover any expenses that arise—and may continue to arise—related to the injury.

All personal injury accident victims should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

What kind of cases do personal injury lawyers handle?

Most people think of personal injury lawyers after a car accident. The list of personal injury cases could include, but is not limited to:

  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Car, Truck and Automobile Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Boat and Personal Watercraft Accidents
  • Bus, Semi-Truck and Other Vehicle Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Farm Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Workplace Accidents and Worker’s Compensation
  • Defective Products and Product Liability
  • Wrongful Death
  • Insurance Claims
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Broken Bones
  • Homeowner Liability
  • Medical Malpractice

An experienced personal injury lawyer is an important asset and guide when navigating through the process. The right personal injury lawyer can answer questions and advocate for the highest and fairest amount of compensation.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident (with Checklist)

steps to take after a car accident

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, drivers are involved in more than 100,000 traffic crashes every year. Unfortunately, many of those car accidents result in injuries and significant medical expenses; both circumstances warrant legal consultation.

There are steps drivers can take moments after the accident that can be beneficial for drivers, both personally and financially. Because the time after a car accident can be overwhelming, we’ve listed the steps to take after an accident in a simple checklist.

Do an initial check after the car accident

___Don’t move the vehicle (unless it is unsafe to stay in place). Wait for a police officer to give instructions to move the vehicle.
___If possible, turn on vehicle flashers so the vehicle is visible to other motorists. ___Assess the condition of everyone in the vehicle and determine if anyone is hurt. (Remember, that not all car accident injuries are immediately evident.)
___Call 9-1-1 to report the accident.
___Seek medical attention if anyone is hurt.

Collect information

___Take pictures of the accident scene (if possible). (Try to get photos of the scene, vehicles, vehicle damage, and the surrounding area.)
___Gather information from the other driver: name, phone number, address, and insurance information. (Do not say anything else, as this may negatively impact financial compensations later.)
___Get the name and information of any eyewitnesses (or license plate number).

Answer questions

___Give information to emergency responders, including name, license, car registration, insurance information, and instructions for towing.
___Mention any injuries or pain to emergency responders.

Schedule follow-up appointments

___Make appointments to address medical needs and long-term care after the accident (i.e. doctor, physical therapy, chiropractor, etc.) (Be aware that some injuries show up days after the accident. Take photos of all injuries.)
___Schedule a meeting with a local, experienced car accident lawyer to discuss the specifics of the accident. (Bring these documents to the meeting.)
___Contact the auto insurance company to notify them of the accident.
___Never talk to the other driver’s insurance company until AFTER consulting a lawyer. (Ask the lawyer what information should be given to the insurance company.)

Collect documents

___Save documents related to the accident, including receipts, police reports, medical bills, and insurance documents.
___Consult with the lawyer about any deadlines that need to be met after an auto accident.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

Accidents with Semi-Trucks: Key Questions Answered

accident with semi-truck

Accidents with semi-trucks are a fairly common sight on roads and highways. The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that more than 6,000 accidents involved a large truck. Because of the large number of commercial trucks on the road and their sheer size, these accidents typically involve serious injuries and medical expenses.

If you have been in an accident with a semi-truck consult with an attorney immediately.

After being hit by a commercial truck, some drivers may decide to deal with the insurance companies on their own. There is significant risk to this approach, as many insurance companies may try to settle the case for as low as possible. Contact an attorney before speaking with the insurance company or trucking company representative.

What steps can help get a fair accident settlement?

After an accident with a semi-truck, drivers can take steps that increases their chance for a fair settlement:

  • Leave the car where it stops (unless it is unsafe to do so).
  • Contact the police as soon as it is safe.
  • Remain in the vehicle until the police officer arrives (unless it is unsafe to do so).
  • Do not make any statements to anyone (bystanders or the other driver) about the accident.
  • Ask the other driver for their name, address, car license plate number, contact information, and insurance company and policy information.
  • If it is safe, take pictures of the accident scene and landmarks around it.
  • Try to collect the contact information of everyone who saw the accident.
  • Always seek medical attention for injuries after the accident (immediately after and days after). Some accident injuries take a few days before symptoms occur.
  • Take pictures of any injuries related the accident.
  • Avoid talking to other insurance companies until after consulting a lawyer.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if there is property damage and medical expenses related to the accident.

What expenses can be covered by compensation?

After an accident with a semi-truck, drivers can be compensated for accident-related expenses, such as (but not limited to):

  • property damage,
  • medical expenses,
  • pain and suffering,
  • future lost income
  • lost wages

To receive a fair accident settlement, drivers should try to keep all paperwork related to the accident and give it to their personal injury lawyer. All documentation can be helpful, such as (but not limited to):

  • Police report
  • Trucking company name and address (this may be included in the accident report)
  • Medical bills
  • Photographs
  • Citations arising from the accident
  • Insurance documents and contact information (from both drivers)

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.