When a resident dies, his or her estate is passed down to beneficiaries, or heirs. If there is a will present, this document will generally list who the beneficiaries are. In the event that no will is present, it is up to the courts to determine who will inherit the estate of the deceased. Next of kin, such as spouses or children, are the most common beneficiaries. The court must determine heirship in all formal cases or in cases where creditors are involved.A legal will

After someone in the state of Wisconsin dies, one of his or her heirs generally starts the probate process if no will is in place. This person will file an application or petition to open probate, and the courts will generally allot this person as the personal representative or executor of the estate. This person will also have to submit proof of heirship for themself, as well as for those who are also heirs of the estate. A proof or heirship form is supplied to the court in both formal and informal probate proceedings and is submitted under oath by both the executor of the estate as well as any others who want to be counted as heirs of the deceased.

Those who file a petition of heirship must also include the names and information of others who may also be heirs to the best of their knowledge and abilities. An effort to find additional heirs must be made by the executor of the estate.

Heirship is not contested unless someone formally files a contest of heirship against the executor of the estate. In some cases heirship is contested by another party against the personal representative of the estate. Heirship must be proven by findings of fact included in the final judgement.

These cases result in a hearing in which the court will review evidence proving or disproving one’s heirship, and it is the final say of the court as to who is and is not an heir. Once heirs have been identified, and all creditors are paid in full, the executor of the estate will distribute assets as required by the court.

If you are having issues proving or disproving an heir, it may be a good idea to contact a good Lawyer.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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