Petitioner's attorney fees and costs.
If a guardian is appointed, the court shall award from the ward's income and assets payment of the petitioner's reasonable attorney fees and costs unless the court finds, after considering all of the following, that it would be inequitable to do so:
The petitioner's interest in the matter, including any conflict of interest that the petitioner may have had in pursuing the guardianship.
The ability of the ward's estate to pay the petitioner's reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Whether the guardianship was contested and, if so, the nature of the contest.
Whether the ward had executed a durable power of attorney under ch. 244
or a power of attorney for health care under s. 155.05
or had engaged in other advance planning for financial and health care decision making.
Any other factors that the court considers to be relevant.
Guardian ad litem and defense fees for indigents; liability.
If the proposed ward is indigent, the county in which venue lies for the guardianship proceeding is the county liable for any fees due the guardian ad litem and, if counsel was not appointed under s. 977.08
, for any legal fees due the proposed ward's legal counsel.
(c) Fees if guardian is not appointed.
If a guardian is not appointed under sub. (2)
, the petitioner is liable for any fees due the guardian ad litem and the proposed ward's legal counsel.
Amount and sufficiency of bond.
The order under sub. (2)
shall specify the amount of any bond required to be given by the guardian of the estate, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of the guardian of the estate. No bond may be required for the guardian of the person.
(b) Waiver of bond.
Unless required under s. 54.852 (9)
, the court may waive the requirement of a bond under any of the following circumstances:
If so requested in a will in which a nomination appears.
If a guardian has or will have possession of funds of the ward with a total value of $100,000 or less and the court directs deposit of the funds in an insured account of a bank, credit union, savings bank, or savings and loan association in the name of the guardian and the ward and payable only upon further order of the court.
(5) Letters of guardianship.
If a guardian of the estate has given bond, if required, and the bond has been approved by the court, letters under the seal of the court shall be issued to the guardian of the estate. If a court determination and order appointing a guardian of the person is entered, letters under the seal of the court shall be issued to the guardian of the person.
(6) Emancipation of married minors.
Except for a minor found to be incompetent, upon marriage, a minor is no longer a proper subject for guardianship of the person and a guardianship of the person is revoked by the marriage of a minor ward. Upon application, the court may release in whole or in part the income and assets of a minor ward to the ward upon the ward's marriage.
Lis pendens, void contracts.
A certified copy of the petition and order for hearing provided for in ss. 54.34
may be filed in the office of the register of deeds for the county. If a guardian is appointed after a hearing on the petition and if the court's order includes a finding that the ward may not make contracts, all contracts, except for necessaries at reasonable prices, and all gifts, sales, and transfers of property made by the ward after the filing of a certified copy of the order are void, unless notified by the guardian in writing.
History: 1971 c. 41
; Stats. 1971 s. 880.215; 1973 c. 284
; 1997 a. 304
; 2005 a. 387
; Stats. 2005 s. 54.47.
Protective placement and protective services.
A finding of incompetency and appointment of a guardian under this chapter is not grounds for involuntary protective placement or the provision of protective services. A protective placement and the provision of protective services may be made only in accordance with ch. 55
Temporary guardianships. 54.50(1)(1)
If it is demonstrated to the court that a proposed ward's particular situation, including the needs of the proposed ward's dependents, requires the immediate appointment of a temporary guardian of the person or estate, the court may appoint a temporary guardian under this section.
(2) Duration and extent of authority.
The court may appoint a temporary guardian for a ward for a period not to exceed 60 days, except that the court may extend this period for good cause shown for one additional 60-day period. The court may impose no further temporary guardianship on the ward for at least 90 days after the expiration of the temporary guardianship and any extension. The court's determination and order appointing the temporary guardian shall specify the authority of the temporary guardian and shall be limited to those acts that are reasonably related to the reasons for appointment that are specified in the petition for temporary guardianship. The authority of the temporary guardian is limited to the performance of those acts stated in the order of appointment. Unless the court first specifically approves and orders bond, the temporary guardian may not sell real estate or expend an amount in excess of $2,000.
(3) Procedures for appointment.
All of the following procedures apply to the appointment of a temporary guardian:
Any person may petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian for an individual. The petition shall contain the information required under s. 54.34 (1)
, shall specify reasons for the appointment of a temporary guardian and the powers requested for the temporary guardian, including the power specified in s. 51.30 (5) (e)
, and shall include a petition for appointment of a guardian of the person or estate or state why such a guardianship is not sought.
The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, who shall attempt to meet with the proposed ward before the hearing or as soon as is practicable after the hearing, but not later than 7 calendar days after the hearing. The guardian ad litem shall report to the court on the advisability of the temporary guardianship at the hearing or not later than 10 calendar days after the hearing.
The court shall hold a hearing on the temporary guardianship. The hearing may be held no earlier than 48 hours after the filing of the petition unless good cause is shown. At the hearing, the petitioner shall provide a report or testimony from a physician or psychologist that indicates that there is a reasonable likelihood that the proposed ward is incompetent. The guardian ad litem shall attend the hearing in person or by telephone or, instead, shall provide to the court a written report concerning the proposed ward for review at the hearing.
If the court appoints a temporary guardian and if the ward, his or her counsel, the guardian ad litem, or an interested party requests, the court shall order a rehearing on the issue of appointment of the temporary guardian within 10 calendar days after the request. If a rehearing is requested, the temporary guardian may take no action to expend the ward's assets, pending a rehearing, without approval by the court.
(4) Cessation of powers.
The duties and powers of the temporary guardian cease upon the issuing of letters of permanent guardianship, the expiration of the time period specified in sub. (2)
, or if the court sooner determines that any situation of the ward that was the cause of the temporary guardianship has terminated. Upon the termination, a temporary guardian of the person shall file with the court any report that the court requires. A temporary guardian of the estate shall, upon the termination, account to the court and deliver to the person entitled the ward's estate over which the temporary guardian of the estate has had control. Any action that has been commenced by the temporary guardian may be prosecuted to final judgment by the successor or successors in interest, if any.
History: 2005 a. 387
Standby guardianship. 54.52(1)(1)
A person may at any time bring a petition for the appointment of a standby guardian of the person or estate of an individual who is determined under s. 54.10
to be incompetent or a spendthrift or for the appointment of a standby guardian of the estate of a minor, except that, as specified in s. 48.978
a petition for the appointment of a standby guardian of the person or estate, or both, of a minor to assume the duty and authority of guardianship on the incapacity, death, or debilitation and consent, of the minor's parent shall be brought under s. 48.978
At any hearing conducted under this section the court may designate one or more standby guardians of the person or estate whose appointment shall become effective immediately upon the death, unwillingness, or inability to act, or resignation or court's removal of the initially appointed guardian or during a period, as determined by the initially appointed guardian, when the initially appointed guardian is temporarily unable to fulfill his or her duties, including during an extended vacation or illness. The powers and duties of the standby guardian shall be the same as those of the initially appointed guardian. The standby guardian shall receive a copy of the court order establishing or modifying the initial guardianship, and the order designating the standby guardian. Upon assuming office, the standby guardian shall so notify the court. Upon notification, the court shall issue new letters of guardianship that specify that the standby guardianship is permanent or that specify the time period for a limited standby guardianship.
Successor guardian. 54.54(1)(1)
If a guardian dies, is removed by order of the court, or resigns and the resignation is accepted by the court, the court, on its own motion or upon petition of any interested person, may appoint a competent and suitable person as successor guardian. The court may, upon request of any interested person or on its own motion, direct that a petition for appointment of a successor guardian be heard in the same manner and subject to the same requirements as provided under this chapter for an original appointment of a guardian.
If the appointment under sub. (1)
is made without hearing, the successor guardian shall provide notice to the ward and all interested persons of the appointment, the right to counsel, and the right to petition for reconsideration of the successor guardian. The notice shall be served personally or by mail not later than 10 days after the appointment.
History: 1971 c. 41
; Stats. 1971 s. 880.17; 1993 a. 486
; 1995 a. 73
; 2005 a. 387
; Stats. 2005 s. 54.54.
The guardian of the estate shall prepare an inventory that lists all of the ward's income and assets, including interests in property and any marital property interest, regardless of how the asset is titled.
(2) Contents of inventory.
The inventory shall provide all of the following information with respect to each asset:
The name and relationship to the ward of any co-owner.
The marital property classification of the property and, for any property that is marital property, the spouse who has management and control rights with respect to the property.
(3) Time for filing.
The guardian of the estate shall file the initial inventory within 60 days after appointment, unless the court extends or reduces the time.
(4) Notice of inventory.
The court shall specify the persons to whom the guardian of the estate shall provide copies of the inventory.
The guardian of the estate shall pay from the ward's income and assets the fee specified in s. 814.66 (1) (b) 2.
at the time the inventory or other documents concerning the value of the income and assets are filed.
The court may order that the guardian of the estate appraise all or any part of the ward's assets.
(7) Verification, examination in court.
Every guardian of the estate shall verify by oath to the best of the guardian's information and belief that every inventory required of the guardian of the estate includes all income and assets of the ward. The court, at the request of any party or on its own motion may examine the guardian of the estate on oath as to the inventory or any supposed omission from the inventory.
(8) Citation to file inventory and to account.
If any guardian neglects to file the inventory or account when required by law, the court shall call the attention of the guardian of the estate to the neglect. If the guardian of the estate continues to neglect his or her duty, the court shall order the guardian of the estate to file the inventory, and the costs may be adjudged against the guardian of the estate.
History: 2005 a. 387
Except as provided in sub. (3)
or unless waived by a court, every guardian, including a corporate guardian, shall, prior to April 15 of each year, file an account under oath that specifies the amount of the ward's assets or income received and held or invested by the guardian, the nature and manner of the investment, and the guardian's receipts and expenditures during the preceding calendar year. The court may order the guardian to render and file, within 30 days, a like account for less than a year. In lieu of the filing of these accounts before April 15 of each year, the court may, by appropriate order upon motion of the guardian, direct the guardian of an estate to render and file the annual accountings within 60 days after the anniversary date of the guardian's qualification as guardian, with the accounting period from the anniversary date of qualification to the ensuing annual anniversary date. The guardian shall also report any change in the status of the surety upon the guardian's bond. If the court determines it to be in the ward's best interests, the court may specify the persons to whom the guardian shall distribute copies of the account.
(2) Display of assets.
Upon rendering the account the guardian shall produce for examination by the court, or by a person satisfactory to the court, evidence of all of the ward's securities, depository accounts, and other investments, which shall be described in the account in sufficient detail so that they may be readily identified. The court or person satisfactory to the court shall ascertain whether the evidence of securities, depository accounts, and other investments correspond with the account.
If a ward's income and assets do not exceed the amount specified in s. 867.03 (1g) (intro.)
, the guardian need not file an account under sub. (1)
unless otherwise ordered to do so by the court. For the purposes of this paragraph, the value of the ward's income and assets does not include the ward's income, any burial trust possessed by the ward, or any term or other life insurance policy that is irrevocably assigned to pay for the disposition of the ward's remains at death.
If the ward's income and assets, as calculated under par. (a)
, increase above the amount specified in s. 867.03 (1g) (intro.)
, the guardian shall so notify the court, which shall determine if an annual account under sub. (1)
or a final account under s. 54.66
(4) Annual accounts of married wards. 54.62(4)(a)(a)
For a married ward, the court may waive filing of an annual account under sub. (1)
or permit the filing of a modified annual account, which shall be signed by the ward's guardian and spouse and shall consist of all of the following:
Total assets of the ward, as determined under ch. 766
, on January 1 of the year in question.
Income in the name of the ward, without regard to ch. 766
, and the ward's joint income.
Expenses incurred on behalf of the ward, including the ward's proportionate share of household expenses if the ward and the ward's spouse reside in the same household, without regard to ch. 766
Total marital property of the ward, as determined under ch. 766
, on December 31 of the year in question.
The court shall provide notice of the waiver under par. (a)
to any adult child of the ward.
(5) Examination of accounts.
The account shall be examined as the court directs. If the account is not satisfactory, the court shall order action as justice requires and shall direct that notice be provided to the guardian personally or by certified mail. If notice is provided to the guardian under this subsection, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the ward.
(6) Accounting by 3rd parties to guardian.
If a guardian appointed by a court so requests, the court may order any person entrusted by the guardian with part of the estate of a ward to appear before the court and to render a full account, on oath, of the income or assets and of his or her action regarding the income or assets. If the person refuses to appear and render an account, the court may proceed against him or her as for contempt.
(7) Notice of final action on an account.
No action by the court on an account is final unless the guardian first provides notice to all of the following, as applicable:
Any guardian ad litem appointed by the court.
Any personal representative or special administrator appointed by the court.
(8) Accounts; failure of a guardian to file.
If a guardian fails to file the guardian's account as required by law or ordered by the court, the court may, upon its own motion or upon the petition of any interested party, order the guardian to show cause why the guardian should not immediately make and file the guardian's reports or accounts. The court shall direct that a copy of the order be served on the guardian at least 20 days before the date that the court has ordered the guardian to appear in court. If a guardian fails, neglects or refuses to make and file any report or account after having been cited by the court to do so, or if the guardian fails to appear in court as directed by a citation issued by the court, the court may, on its own motion or on the petition of any interested party, issue a warrant directed to the sheriff ordering that the guardian be brought before the court to show cause why the guardian should not be punished for contempt. If the court finds that the failure, refusal, or neglect is willful or inexcusable, the guardian may be fined not to exceed $250 or imprisoned not to exceed 10 days or both.
(9) Accounting by guardians at any time.
The court may at any time require an accounting by any guardian at a hearing, after providing notice to all interested persons, including sureties on the bond of a guardian.
History: 2005 a. 387
; 2007 a. 45
Transfer of guardianship funds of a Menominee.
The court that has appointed a guardian of the estate of any minor or individual found incompetent who is a legally enrolled member of the Menominee Indian tribe, as defined in s. 49.385
, or a lawful distributee, as defined in s. 54.850 (3)
, of the member may direct the guardian to transfer the assets in the guardian's possession of the minor or individual found incompetent to the trustees of the trust created by the secretary of interior or his or her delegate that receives property of the minors or individuals found incompetent that is transferred from the United States or any agency thereof as provided by P.L. 83-399
, as amended, and the assets shall thereafter be held, administered, and distributed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the trust.
History: 1971 c. 41
; Stats. 1971 s. 880.195; 1977 c. 449
; 1995 a. 27
; 2005 a. 387
; Stats. 2005 s. 54.625.
Expansion of order of guardianship; procedure. 54.63(1)(1)
If the guardian or another interested person submits to the court a written statement with relevant accompanying support requesting the removal of rights from the ward and transfer to the guardian of powers in addition to those specified in the order of appointment of the guardian, based on an expansion of the ward's incapacity, the court shall do all of the following:
Appoint a guardian ad litem for the ward.
Order that notice, including notice concerning potential court action if circumstances are extraordinary, be given to all of the following:
The county department of social services or human services if the ward is protectively placed or receives long-term support services as a public benefit.
The agent under the ward's power of attorney for health care under ch. 155
, if any, and the agent under the ward's durable power of attorney under ch. 244
, if any.