Current as of: 2013
(1) Definitions. In this section:
(a) "Beneficiary of a marital property agreement" means a designated person, trust or other entity having an interest in property passing by nontestamentary disposition under s. 766.58 (3) (f).
(b) "Survivorship marital property" means property held under s. 766.60 (5) (a).
(c) "TOD beneficiary" means a person designated on a deed as a transfer on death beneficiary under s. 705.15.
(1m) Upon death; generally. If a domiciliary of this state dies who immediately prior to death had an interest in property in this state, including an interest in survivorship marital property or an interest in property passing under s. 705.10 (1), or if a person not domiciled in this state dies having an interest in property in this state, including an interest in survivorship marital property or an interest in property passing under s. 705.10 (1), upon petition of the decedent's spouse, a beneficiary of a marital property agreement, a TOD beneficiary, or a beneficiary of a transfer under s. 705.10 (1) to the court of the county of domicile of the decedent or, if the decedent was not domiciled in this state, of any county where the property is situated, the court shall issue a certificate under the seal of the court. The certificate shall set forth the fact of the death of the decedent, the termination or transfer of the decedent's interest in the property, the interest of the petitioner in the property and any other facts essential to a determination of the rights of persons interested. The certificate is prima facie evidence of the facts recited, and if the certificate relates to an interest in real property or to a debt secured by an interest in real property, the petitioner shall record a certified copy or duplicate original of the certificate in the office of the register of deeds in each county in this state in which the real property is located.
(2) Upon death; interest in property. As an alternative to sub. (1m), upon the death of any person having an interest in any real property, a vendor's interest in a land contract, an interest in a savings or checking account, an interest in a security, a mortgagee's interest in a mortgage, or an interest in property passing under s. 705.10 (1), including an interest in survivorship marital property, the decedent's spouse, a beneficiary of a marital property agreement, a TOD beneficiary, or a beneficiary of a transfer under s. 705.10 (1) may obtain evidence of the termination of that interest of the decedent and confirmation of the petitioner's interest in the property by providing to the register of deeds of the county in which the property is located the certified death certificate for the decedent and, on applications supplied by the register of deeds for that purpose, all of the following information:
(a) The name, residence and post-office addresses of the decedent and the applicant.
(b) The date of decedent's death.
(i) In the case of real property, a copy of the property tax bill for the year preceding the year of the decedent's death and a legal description of the property, which description shall be imprinted on or attached to the application. The register of deeds shall record the bill. The required recording of the property tax bill may be waived by an agreement between the register of deeds and the county real property lister.
(j) In the case of a joint tenancy, life estate, or TOD beneficiary designation, a copy of the deed that creates the interest.
(k) In the case of a transfer under s. 705.10 (1), except as described in par. (i) or (j), a copy of the document described in s. 705.10 (1).
(2m) Third-party confirmation. If the personal representative or decedent's spouse or a beneficiary of a marital property agreement or TOD beneficiary does not commence proceedings to confirm an interest under this section or s. 863.27 or 865.201 within 90 days after the decedent's death, any interested person may petition or apply under this section.
(3) Completion of application. The register of deeds or other person authorized under s. 706.06 or 706.07 shall complete a statement at the foot of the application, declaring that the applicant or, if the applicant is not an individual, a representative of the applicant appeared before him or her and verified, under oath, the correctness of the information required by sub. (2).
(4) Delivery of application. The register of deeds shall mail or deliver a copy of the application to the circuit court for the county of residence of the decedent, unless the clerk of courts notifies the register of deeds in writing that this procedure is not necessary.
(5) Recording; termination of property interest. Upon the recording, the application constitutes prima facie evidence of the facts recited and constitutes the termination of the property interest, with the same force and effect as if issued by the court assigned to exercise probate jurisdiction for the county of domicile of the decedent under s. 867.04.
(6) Purchasers from petitioners protected. If an interest in property transferred under this section is acquired from the petitioner by a purchaser or lender in good faith, for value and without actual notice that the transfer was improper, the purchaser or lender takes title free of any claims of the decedent's estate and incurs no personal liability to the estate, whether or not the transfer was proper. Purchasers and lenders have no duty to inquire whether a transfer was proper.
Questions & Answers: Probate
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