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  • Attorney Jill Johnson

Wisconsin Appeals Court says Estate's Personal Rep. Cannot File an Appeal

Why not, you ask? Can't pro se (unrepresented) folks file appeals? The difference here is that the Personal Rep. (called an Executor in some states) was not filing on his own behalf, he was filing on behalf of the estate.

As you can imagine, this is not the first time this issue has come up. An article published by the Wisconsin State Bar this month points us to a 1997 case. They comment: "In Jadair Inc. v. United States Fire Ins. Co., 209 Wis. 2d 187, 562 N.W.2d 401, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a notice of appeal was fatally defective because a non-lawyer filed it on behalf of a corporation, which is the unauthorized practice of law."

And one year later, a trustee tried to follow the same path and ran into the same obstacle. The latest case ( Ditech Financial LLC v. Estate of James Stacey, 2016AP2371 (Feb. 15, 2017) follows the same reasoning.

There are many tasks that a Personal Rep. can take on and accomplish successfully. The unauthorized practice of law is not one of them.

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