2003 - 2004 LEGISLATURE
January 14, 2004 - Introduced by Representatives Albers, Hahn, Bies, Freese,
Hines, Staskunas
and J. Wood. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
AB753,1,5 1An Act to renumber and amend 815.18 (3) (b); to amend 815.18 (3) (d), 815.18
2(3) (f), 815.18 (3) (g), 815.18 (3) (i) 1. c., 815.20 (1) and (2), 815.21 (2), 815.21 (4)
3and 815.21 (5); and to create 815.18 (2) (bc), 815.18 (3) (b) 2. and 815.20 (3) of
4the statutes; relating to: the homestead exemption and increases in the value
5of the exemption for various property that is exempt from execution.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a debtor's interest in certain property and the value of
certain property are exempt from execution, from the lien of every judgment, and
from liability for the debtor's debts, allowing the debtor to keep that property rather
than have the property taken to pay the amounts owed to creditors. This bill raises
the value of some of the property that is exempt as shown by the following table: - See PDF for table PDF
This bill also allows a person who does not take an exemption for business
equipment, inventory, farm products, or professional books to take an exemption of
any interest the debtor has in a closely held business, up to a maximum amount of
In addition, the bill requires the Department of Administration, beginning in
January 2004, to adjust annually the exemption for the debtor's homestead,
currently set at $40,000, to reflect the annual change in the consumer price index for
all urban consumers. Current law extends the homestead exemption to land owned
by a husband and wife jointly or in common and allows either to claim the exemption
or to divide the exemption between them. The bill allows the husband and wife to
each claim a homestead exemption of not more than $40,000.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB753, s. 1 1Section 1. 815.18 (2) (bc) of the statutes is created to read:
AB753,2,52 815.18 (2) (bc) "Closely held business" means a corporation whose stocks are
3held by not more than 25 individuals, a partnership of not more than 25 partners who
4are individuals, or a limited liability company of not more than 25 members who are
AB753, s. 2 6Section 2. 815.18 (3) (b) of the statutes is renumbered 815.18 (3) (b) 1. and
7amended to read:
AB753,2,108 815.18 (3) (b) 1. Equipment, inventory, farm products and professional books
9used in the business of the debtor or the business of a dependent of the debtor, not
10to exceed $7,500 $12,500 in aggregate value.
AB753, s. 3 11Section 3. 815.18 (3) (b) 2. of the statutes is created to read:
1815.18 (3) (b) 2. If the debtor does not claim an exemption under subd. 1., any
2interest of the debtor, not to exceed $12,500 in aggregate value, in a closely held
3business that employs the debtor or in whose business the debtor is actively involved.
AB753, s. 4 4Section 4. 815.18 (3) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,3,95 815.18 (3) (d) Consumer goods. Household goods and furnishings, wearing
6apparel, keepsakes, jewelry and other articles of personal adornment, appliances,
7books, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, animals or other tangible
8personal property held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the
9debtor or a dependent of the debtor, not to exceed $5,000 $10,000 in aggregate value.
AB753, s. 5 10Section 5. 815.18 (3) (f) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,3,1711 815.18 (3) (f) Life insurance. Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by
12the debtor and insuring the debtor, the debtor's dependent or an individual of whom
13the debtor is a dependent, other than a credit life insurance contract, and the debtor's
14aggregate interest, not to exceed $4,000 $8,625 in value, in any accrued dividends,
15interest or loan value of all unmatured life insurance contracts owned by the debtor
16and insuring the debtor, the debtor's dependent or an individual of whom the debtor
17is a dependent.
AB753, s. 6 18Section 6. 815.18 (3) (g) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,3,2219 815.18 (3) (g) Motor vehicles. Motor vehicles not to exceed $1,200 $2,775 in
20aggregate value. Any unused amount of the aggregate value from par. (d) may be
21added to this exemption to increase the aggregate exempt value of motor vehicles
22under this paragraph.
AB753, s. 7 23Section 7. 815.18 (3) (i) 1. c. of the statutes is amended to read:
1815.18 (3) (i) 1. c. A payment, not to exceed $25,000 $40,000, resulting from
2personal bodily injury, including pain and suffering or compensation for actual
3pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent.
AB753, s. 8 4Section 8. 815.20 (1) and (2) of the statutes are amended to read:
AB753,4,225 815.20 (1) An exempt homestead as defined in s. 990.01 (14) selected by a
6resident owner and occupied by him or her shall be exempt from execution, from the
7lien of every judgment and from liability for the debts of the owner to the amount of
8$40,000, as adjusted under sub. (3), except mortgages, laborers', mechanics' and
9purchase money liens and taxes and except as otherwise provided. The exemption
10shall not be impaired by temporary removal with the intention to reoccupy the
11premises as a homestead nor by the sale of the homestead, but shall extend to the
12proceeds derived from the sale to an amount not exceeding $40,000, as adjusted
13under sub. (3),
while held, with the intention to procure another homestead with the
14proceeds, for 2 years. The exemption extends to land owned by husband and wife
15jointly or in common or as marital property, and when they reside in the same
16household may be claimed by either or may be divided in any proportion between
17them, but the exemption may not exceed $40,000 for the household. If the husband
18and wife fail to agree on the division of exemption, the exemption shall be divided
19between them by the court in which the first judgment was taken
and each spouse
20may claim a homestead exemption of not more than $40,000
. The exemption extends
21to the interest therein of tenants in common, having a homestead thereon with the
22consent of the cotenants, and to any estate less than a fee.
AB753,5,4 23(2) Any owner of an exempt homestead against whom a judgment has been
24rendered and entered in the judgment and lien docket, and any heir, devisee or
25grantee of the owner, or any mortgagee of the homestead, may proceed under s.

1806.04 for declaratory relief if the homestead is less than $40,000, as adjusted under
2sub. (3),
in value and the owner of the judgment shall fail, for 10 days after demand,
3to execute a recordable release of the homestead from the judgment owner's
4judgment lien.
AB753, s. 9 5Section 9. 815.20 (3) of the statutes is created to read:
AB753,5,136 815.20 (3) The department of administration shall adjust the amount of the
7homestead exemption under this section and s. 815.21 annually, beginning in
8January 2004, or on the effective date of this subsection .... [revisor inserts date],
9whichever is later, to reflect the annual change in the consumer price index for all
10urban consumers, U.S. city average, as determined by the U.S. department of labor.
11By March 1 of each year, the department of administration shall notify the director
12of state courts of the adjusted amount of the homestead exemption, which shall apply
13to all executions issued on or after that date.
AB753, s. 10 14Section 10. 815.21 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,6,215 815.21 (2) If such plaintiff is dissatisfied with the quantity selected or the
16estimate of the value thereof, the officer shall cause such lands to be surveyed,
17beginning at a point to be designated by the owner and set off in compact form. After
18the lands are surveyed and set off, if in the opinion of the plaintiff, the same shall be
19of greater value than $40,000, as adjusted under s. 815.20 (3), the officer may still
20advertise and sell the premises so set off, and out of the proceeds of such sale pay to
21the exempt homestead claimant the sum of $40,000, as adjusted under s. 815.20 (3),
22and apply the balance of the proceeds of such sale on the execution; but no sale shall
23be made in the case last mentioned unless a greater sum than $40,000 , as adjusted
24under s. 815.20 (3),
is paid for said premises. The expenses of such survey and sale
25shall be collected on the execution if the owner claimed as the owner's homestead a

1greater quantity of land or land of greater value than the owner was entitled to;
2otherwise such expenses shall be borne by the plaintiff.
AB753, s. 11 3Section 11. 815.21 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,6,134 815.21 (4) A homestead so selected and set apart by such officer shall be the
5exempt homestead of such person. The costs of such notice and survey shall be
6collected upon the execution. A failure of the officer to set apart such homestead shall
7affect such levy, only as to such homestead; and the failure of such person to select
8that person's homestead shall not impair that person's right thereto, but only that
9person's right to select the same when such selection is lawfully made by such officer.
10After such homestead is thus set off by such officer, if, in the officer's opinion or in
11the opinion of the plaintiff, the premises are of greater value than $40,000, as
12adjusted under s. 815.20 (3),
the officer may sell the same as where the owner makes
13the selection.
AB753, s. 12 14Section 12. 815.21 (5) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB753,6,1915 815.21 (5) If the land claimed as an exempt homestead exceeds in value
16$40,000, as adjusted under s. 815.20 (3), the officer shall not be bound to set off any
17portion thereof but may sell the same, unless the debtor shall make the debtor's
18selection of such a portion thereof as shall not exceed $40,000, as adjusted under s.
19815.20 (3),
in value.
AB753, s. 13 20Section 13. Initial applicability.
AB753,6,2221 (1) This act first applies to executions issued on the effective date of this
AB753,6,2323 (End)