If my mother passed recently away with very little means and a few bills to pay, what documentation do I need so I am able to manage her affairs?

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If my mother passed recently away with very little means and a few bills to pay, what documentation do I need so I am able to manage her affairs?

I am the only child. I have received some small checks from her auto insurance and utilities, however they are obviously not in my name. She had a hand written will which is notarized. What documentation do I need so I am able to manage her affairs, cash checks in her name, prove I am her only child, etc.? I have notified her banks, credit issuers, etc. of her death and provided death certificates.

Asked on November 28, 2014 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Generally speaking, the state of Wisconsin does not recognize handwritten Wills (but some of the individual areas within the state might).  So double check with the Probate Court in the County in which Mom resided at the time of her death.  Now, even if the Will is not valid you would inherit everything under the intestacy statute (assuming there is no spouse).  It also sounds as if Mom has a small estate and there is a special proceeding for that.  I am going to give you a link to the Wisconsin Courts to start you off.  Good luck.

http://www.wicourts.gov/services/public/selfhelp/docs/probateguide.pdf


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