If you are proceeding without an attorney, it is likely that some level of bond will be required. The minimum bond in Milwaukee County is $50,000.00, but a full bond may be required depending upon the circumstances.
Yes. Bonds are required for all informal probates which do not have a will.
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.
The Register in Probate will always accept a bond in the full estimate 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.
Heirs (beneficiaries) may pledge their shares of the estate as excess surety to reduce bond, pursuant to Wis. Stats. 856.25(3). This is a factor the Register or Deputy Register will consider when setting bond. However, Milwaukee County’s minimum bond is $50,000.00. Therefore, even if all heirs pledge their shares of the estate, a $50,000.00 bond will still be required in cases without a will. Please note that Guardians ad Litem for minor heirs may not pledge the minor’s share 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.
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.
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.