2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
January 28, 2022 - Introduced by Senator Ballweg, cosponsored by
Representatives Macco, Tauchen, Gundrum, Krug, Kurtz, Loudenbeck,
Magnafici, Moses, Oldenburg, Penterman and Edming. Referred to
Committee on Agriculture and Tourism.
1An Act to amend
863.27, 865.201 (1), 867.046 (1) (c), 867.046 (1m) and 867.046 2
(2) (intro.); and to create
705.18 and 867.046 (2) (L) of the statutes; relating
3to: nonprobate transfers of farming implements at death.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill allows any interest in a farm implement to be transferred without
probate to a designated beneficiary, referred to under the bill as a “TOD beneficiary,”
at the death of the sole owner, or at the death of the last of multiple owners, subject
to any lien or encumbrance against the farm implement, if certain conditions are
met. Under the bill, “farm implement” is defined to mean a tractor or machine,
including any associated accessories, attachments, fuel, and repair parts, used
exclusively and directly in farming, with certain exceptions. In order to pass an
interest in a farm implement without probate under the bill, the owner or owners
must execute a document that designates a TOD beneficiary of the farm implement,
lists all of the owners of the farm implement, and states that the transfer is effective
only upon the death of the owner or owners. Further, under the bill, a document
designating a TOD beneficiary must be executed pursuant to certain formalities,
including that all owners sign the document and that their signatures be witnessed
by two witnesses who, at the time they witnessed the signature, would be competent
to testify as witnesses in court to the facts relating to execution. Any designation of
an interest in a farm implement under the bill may be canceled or changed at any
time by the sole owner or all then surviving owners, without the consent of the TOD
beneficiary, by executing and recording another document that designates a
different TOD beneficiary or no beneficiary.
For further information see the state 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:
705.18 of the statutes is created to read:
2705.18 Nonprobate transfer of farming implements at death. (1)
In this 3
(a) “Conscious presence” means within the range of any of an individual's 5
(b) 1. “Farm implement” means a tractor or machine, including any associated 7
accessories, attachments, fuel, and repair parts, used exclusively and directly in 8
2. “Farm implement” does not include personal property that is attached to, 10
fastened to, connected to, or built into real property or that becomes an addition to, 11
component of, or capital improvement to real property, and does not include 12
buildings or improvements to real property, regardless of any contribution that the 13
personal property makes to the production process of any machine and regardless of 14
the extent to which that personal property functions as a machine.
3. For purposes of subd. 2., the following items retain their character as a “farm 16
implement,” regardless of the extent to which they are fastened to, connected to, or 17
built into real property:
a. Auxiliary power generators.
b. Bale loaders.
c. Barn elevators.
e. Feed elevators and augers.
f. Grain dryers and grinders.
g. Milk coolers.
h. Milking machines, including piping, pipeline washers, and compressors.
i. Silo unloaders.
j. Powered feeders, but not including platforms or troughs constructed from 7
ordinary building materials.
(c) “Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, 9
partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, 10
government subdivision, agency or instrumentality, public corporation, or any other 11
legal or commercial entity.
(d) “TOD beneficiary” means a person designated as a beneficiary in a 13
document that complies with sub. (3) (a).
Any interest in a farm implement may be transferred without probate to 15
a designated TOD beneficiary as provided in this section on the death of the sole 16
owner or the last to die of multiple owners.
(a) A TOD beneficiary may be designated on a document that includes all 18
of the following:
1. The name of the owner or owners of the interest in a farm implement that 20
will be transferred.
2. The name of the designated TOD beneficiary.
3. That the transfer is effective only upon the death of the owner or owners.
4. If the interest that will be transferred is an interest in property owned by a 24
spouse as marital property, the signatures of both spouses who have an interest in 25
the marital property.
(b) The designation of a TOD beneficiary may be made by use of the words 2
“transfer on death” or “pay on death,” or the abbreviation “TOD” or “POD,” after the 3
name of the owner or owners of the property and before the name of the TOD 4
beneficiary or beneficiaries. The owner or owners may designate one or more persons 5
as a primary TOD beneficiary and may designate one or more persons as a contingent 6
TOD beneficiary if a primary TOD beneficiary does not survive the sole owner or the 7
last to die of multiple owners. The designation may be included on the original 8
document that passes the property interest to the owner or owners or may be made 9
at a later time by the sole owner or all then surviving owners by executing another 10
document that designates a TOD beneficiary.
(c) A document designating a TOD beneficiary under this section is not effective 12
unless it is in writing and executed with all of the following formalities:
1. It must be signed by all owners. If an owner is unable to sign, another person 14
may sign for the owner with the owner's consent and in the owner's conscious 15
2. It must be signed by at least 2 witnesses who signed within a reasonable time 17
after any of the following:
a. The signing of the document designating a TOD beneficiary as provided in 19
subd. 1., in the conscious presence of the witness.
b. The owner's implicit or explicit acknowledgment of the owner's signature on 21
the document designating a TOD beneficiary, in the conscious presence of the 22
c. The owner's implicit or explicit acknowledgment of the document 24
designating a TOD beneficiary, in the conscious presence of the witness.
3. The 2 witnesses required under subd. 2. may observe the signing or 2
acknowledgment under subd. 2. a. to c. at different times.
4. If there are multiple owners, each signature of an owner must be witnessed 4
by at least 2 witnesses. For purposes of this paragraph, a witness may be a witness 5
for multiple owners.
5. Any person who, at the time of execution of the document designating a TOD 7
beneficiary, would be competent to testify as a witness in court to the facts relating 8
to execution may act as a witness to the document designating a TOD beneficiary. 9
Subsequent incompetency of a witness is not a ground for denying or voiding the TOD 10
beneficiary designation if the execution of the document designating a TOD 11
beneficiary is otherwise satisfactorily proved.
The designation of a TOD beneficiary on a document does not affect 13
ownership of the property until the death of the sole owner or the last to die of 14
multiple owners regardless of whether the document provides otherwise. The 15
designation may be canceled or changed at any time by the sole owner or all then 16
surviving owners, without the consent of the TOD beneficiary, by executing and 17
recording another document that designates a different TOD beneficiary or no 18
beneficiary. The execution of a document that designates a TOD beneficiary or no 19
beneficiary revokes any designation made in a previously executed document 20
relating to the same property interest.
On the death of the sole owner or the last to die of multiple owners, 22
ownership of the interest in the farm implement passes, subject to any lien or 23
encumbrance against the farm implement, to the designated TOD beneficiary or 24
beneficiaries who survive all owners and to any predeceased beneficiary's issue who 25
would take under s. 854.06 (3). If no TOD beneficiary or predeceased TOD
beneficiary's issue who would take under s. 854.06 (3) survives the death of all 2
owners, the interest in the farm implement passes to the estate of the deceased sole 3
owner or the estate of the last to die of the multiple owners.
A TOD beneficiary's interest in the property on the death of the sole owner 5
or the last to die of multiple owners may be confirmed as provided in s. 863.27, 6
865.201, or 867.046.
Chapter 854 applies to transfers on death under this section.