Milwaukee County Courts
 

Informal Probate

How to Start an Informal Probate Case

Informal Probate can be a very complicated process. That's why we strongly encourage you to speak with a Deputy Register in Probate to start your case. We are in Room 207 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

First, review the Wisconsin Guide to Informal Probate

Customer Service Hours: 9 to 11 a.m. & 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday - Friday
(Subject to DRIP Availability)


Probate Claims Forms

Hearing Data Sheet

Objection

Objection to Claim

Pretrial Conference Order

Demand Formal Probate

PR-1813


 

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about probate bond guidelines in informal cases in Milwaukee County. These guidelines are for informal probate cases only. Additionally, while the Deputy Registers generally follow these guidelines, they may deviate from the guidelines in a particular case. The term “bond” in this context means a surety bond.

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  I am filing an informal probate with an original will that waives bond for the personal representative. Will I still be required to file a bond?

Generally, no. However, there are two common situations involving a will where a bond is still required:

  • Where the named (and proposed) personal representative is not a resident of Wisconsin; and/or
  • Where the proposed personal representative is not the named (or an alternatively named) personal representative in the will.

Please note that if the will specifically requires a bond, or is silent or ambiguous about bond, a bond will still be required.

  I am filing an informal probate with no will on waivers. Will I need to file a bond?

Yes. Bonds are required for all informal probates which do not have a will.

  The above answers suggest I may need a bond in my case, but the proposed personal representative is the sole heir (beneficiary). Do I still need a bond?

Yes.

  The above answers suggest I may need a bond in my case, but the proposed personal representative is an attorney. Do I still need a bond?

Yes.

  The above answers suggest I may need a bond in my case, but the proposed personal representative is a bank. Do I still need a bond?

Not if the bank meets the requirements of Wis. Stats. §856.25(1) “…no bond shall be required of any trust company bank, state bank or national banking association which is authorized to exercise trust powers and which has complied with s. 220.09 or 223.02.” A sworn statement that the bank meets these requirements should accompany the application for informal probate.

  If I need a bond, what bond amount will be required?

The Deputy Registers will always accept a bond in the full estimated amount of the estate. Please note that the court may require an additional bond if the inventory indicates a substantially greater amount than the petition. Bond may be lowered if the inventory indicates a substantially smaller amount than the amount of the bond, upon a petition to the court.

Heirs (beneficiaries) may pledge their share of the estate as excess surety to reduce the bond, pursuant to Wis. Stats. §856.25(3). However, if bond is required, the minimum bond is a $10,000 bond. Therefore, even if all heirs (beneficiaries) pledge their share of the estate, a $10,000 bond will be required. Please note that the Deputy Registers do not generally allow Guardians ad Litem to pledge the shares of minors or incompetent heirs (beneficiaries).

  Is there a form for heirs (beneficiaries) to pledge their shares of the estate?

There is no Wisconsin court form for heirs (beneficiaries) to pledge their shares. You may include the language “I pledge my share of the estate as excess surety” on the “Other” line of the standard Waiver and Consent form. Some attorneys prefer to draw up their own “Pledge of Shares” document. Either is acceptable.

  What bonding company should I use?

There is no required bonding company to use. There are currently two bond companies that rent space in our office and you may call the probate office at (414) 278- 4444 for their contact information or stop into the probate office to talk to them. But you may use any company that will issue a standard probate surety bond.

  I read these FAQs but think that I have a unique situation/I just don’t agree with you. What should I do?

You can contact the probate office at (414) 278-4444 and ask to speak to a deputy register. Additionally, these guidelines are for informal probate cases. You always have the option of filing for formal probate and setting a hearing in front of the assigned probate judge.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY CLERK OF CIRCUIT COURTS

901 N. 9th Street, Room 104
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
(414) 278-5362

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday

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