CHAPTER 865
PROBATE — INFORMAL ADMINISTRATION
865.01   Applicability of informal administration.
865.02   Use of informal administration.
865.03   Formal proceedings: nature; effect.
865.031   Effect of fraud and evasion.
865.04   Proceedings independent; exceptions.
865.05   Notice: method and time of giving.
865.06   Application; contents.
865.065   Probate registrar: definition and powers.
865.07   Determinations required of probate registrar.
865.08   Informal appointment; letters.
865.09   Powers and duties; time of accrual.
865.10   Personal representative to proceed without court order; exception.
865.11   Inventory and tax returns.
865.12   Employment of appraisers.
865.13   Personal representative may pay claims.
865.14   Improper distribution; liability of distributee.
865.15   Purchasers from distributees protected.
865.16   Closing estates by sworn statement.
865.17   Liability of distributees to claimants.
865.18   Limitations on proceedings against personal representative.
865.19   Limitations on actions and proceedings against distributees.
865.20   Termination of joint tenancy or life estate.
865.201   Confirmation of interest in property.
865.202   Transfer of interest in property.
865.21   Receipts to be filed.
Ch. 865 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See definitions in ch. 851.
865.01 865.01 Applicability of informal administration. “Informal administration of estates" means the administration of decedents' estates, testate and intestate, without exercise of continuous supervision by the court. Administrative action by the probate registrar is not action by the court. Informal administration proceedings are, nevertheless, circuit court proceedings, records of which shall be kept in the same manner as they are kept for formal proceedings; all of the duties and powers of registers in probate, including the certification of papers filed in the probate court, apply to informal proceedings in the same manner as they apply to formal proceedings. All provisions of chs. 851 to 879 not inconsistent with this chapter shall apply to the informal administration of estates.
865.01 History History: 1973 c. 39; 1975 c. 331; 1977 c. 449.
865.01 Annotation Informal administration of decedents' estates in Wisconsin. 1974 WLR 581.
865.02 865.02 Use of informal administration.
865.02(1) (1) Informal administration may be used:
865.02(1)(a) (a) Where the decedent died testate and:
865.02(1)(a)1. 1. The will does not prohibit the use of informal administration;
865.02(1)(a)2. 2. The will names a personal representative who accepts such appointment;
865.02(1)(a)3. 3. Bond is furnished if required under s. 865.07 as provided under s. 856.25; and
865.02(1)(a)4. 4. The probate registrar may appoint a guardian ad litem, and shall have the authority, for such purpose, granted to the court by, and shall proceed pursuant to s. 879.23.
865.02(1)(b) (b) Where the decedent died intestate or the requirements of par. (a) 2. and 3. are not satisfied and:
865.02(1)(b)1. 1. All interested persons request or consent in writing to informal administration and to the appointment of the same person as personal representative. A guardian or guardian ad litem may consent on behalf of an interested person who is a minor or is an individual adjudicated incompetent. The probate registrar may appoint a guardian ad litem, and shall have the authority, for such purpose, granted to the court by, and shall proceed pursuant to s. 879.23.
865.02(1)(b)2. 2. Bond is furnished if required under s. 865.07 as provided under s. 856.25.
865.02(2) (2) Where the will of the decedent expressly prohibits informal administration it shall not be used.
865.02 History History: 1973 c. 39; 1975 c. 331; 2005 a. 387.
865.03 865.03 Formal proceedings: nature; effect.
865.03(1) (1) A formal proceeding in this chapter is a judicial proceeding before the court involving the administration of the estate of a decedent, including a court proceeding concerning the use or availability of this chapter. It is distinguished from an administrative proceeding before the probate registrar. Formal proceedings, either as to a particular issue or as to the entire subsequent administration of the estate, may be initiated by the personal representative or by any interested person at any time by a written demand therefor. Formal proceedings may be demanded by a guardian or guardian ad litem on behalf of an interested person who is a minor or is an individual adjudicated incompetent.
865.03(2) (2) A demand for formal proceedings shall be served on the personal representative, if any, and filed with the court. Service of a demand on the personal representative or, if none is appointed, filing of a demand with the court shall suspend informal administration as to the issues or matters referred to therein and shall suspend the powers of the personal representative in respect thereto until the same are reinstated by the court.
865.03 History History: 1973 c. 39; 2005 a. 387.
865.031 865.031 Effect of fraud and evasion. Whenever fraud has been perpetrated in connection with any proceeding or in any statement filed under this chapter, or if fraud is used to avoid or circumvent the provisions or purposes of this chapter, any person injured thereby may obtain appropriate relief against the perpetrator of the fraud, including restitution from any person, other than a bona fide purchaser, benefiting from the fraud, whether innocent or not. Any proceeding must be commenced within 2 years after the discovery of the fraud, but no proceeding may be brought against one not a perpetrator of the fraud later than 5 years after the time of commission of the fraud. This section has no bearing on remedies relating to fraud practiced on a decedent during the decedent's lifetime which affects the succession of the decedent's estate.
865.031 History History: 1973 c. 39; 1993 a. 486.
865.04 865.04 Proceedings independent; exceptions.
865.04(1)(1) Except where a demand for formal administration of the estate has been duly made:
865.04(1)(a) (a) Any interested person may apply for informal administration if administration of the estate has not been commenced under s. 856.07 or 879.57 or ch. 867; and
865.04(1)(b) (b) The personal representative may apply for informal administration at any time during administration.
865.04(2) (2) The determination of each issue and the completion of each proceeding required for the administration of a decedent's estate is independent of any other issue or proceeding involving the same estate.
865.04(3) (3) Petitions in formal proceedings during informal administration may combine various requests for relief if all the requests may be finally granted without delay.
865.04(4) (4) Upon entry of an order or judgment in a formal proceeding informal administration shall resume except as otherwise ordered by the court.
865.04 History History: 1973 c. 39, 243.
865.05 865.05 Notice: method and time of giving.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 2 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before March 11, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after March 11, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 3-11-17)