Wisconsin’s new transfer on death law lacks reporting mechanism

An attorney who remains active with the family farm says Wisconsin’s new transfer-on-death law for farm machinery could use an additional reporting tool.

Kelly Wilfert from Two Rivers tells Brownfield that Wisconsin’s groundbreaking law allows the transfer of farm machinery to a designated heir when the owner dies without going through probate court. “Transfer on death, which we previously allowed for, and currently still do allow for real estate takes it out of the probate process. The transfer on death for farm equipment attempts to do the same thing for farm equipment, specifically.”

Wilfert says the law reduces probate fees and potential ownership disputes, but unlike real estate, there’s no mechanism for recording liens and other security interests on personal property like farm machinery.  She says lenders typically file what’s called a UCC filing through the Department of Financial Institutions. “So what we proposed today was that we add a UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filing opportunity or a filing with that Department of Financial Institutions here in Wisconsin in order to track the transfer on death of farm equipment. It would at least creditors the knowledge that when so in so passes, the equipment is supposed to pass to this person.”

A resolution supporting the filing change was approved by Wisconsin Farm Bureau delegates Monday.  This proposed change must go through the state Legislature.

Kelly WIlfert with Brownfield’s Larry Lee discussing Wisconsin’s transfer-on-death law and a suggested modification during the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting 12-5-2022

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