State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wisconsin > 766 > 766.575


766.575 Protection of trustees dealing with spouses.


(1) In this section:


(a) "Business day" has the meaning given under s. 421.301 (6).


(b) "Governing instrument" means the contract or other instrument pursuant to which a trustee has possession or control of property. The term includes, in the case of trustees whose rights, duties and responsibilities are fixed by court order or statute or both, the court order and the applicable statutory provisions as modified by any court order, as they would apply if this chapter had not been enacted.


(c) "Notice of claim" means a written notice, by or on behalf of a spouse, former spouse, surviving spouse or person claiming under a deceased spouse's disposition at death, that the person claims to be entitled to property in the trustee's possession or control, specifying the portion of property to which the claim relates.


(d) "Property" includes, in addition to the meaning given under s. 766.01 (15), any proceeds of property, any income earned on property or derived from property and any income or proceeds derived from proceeds or income previously received and reinvested.


(e) "Trustee" has the meaning given under s. 701.01 (8).


(2) Except as provided in sub. (3), in a court order or in the terms of a trust, the classification of property in the possession or control of a trustee shall not affect the trustee's right and duty to administer, manage and distribute the property in accordance with the terms of the governing instrument and the trustee may rely on and act in accordance with those terms.




(a) If at least 5 business days before distributing property in accordance with the terms of a governing instrument a trustee has received at its principal business office a notice of claim, the trustee shall notify the persons to whom the property would otherwise be distributed, whether as a matter of right or in the exercise of any discretion granted under the governing instrument, of the receipt of the notice of claim and shall suspend the distribution of the portion of property to which the claim relates for 14 business days.


(b) If within 14 business days after receiving the notice of claim the trustee receives, as purporting to support the claim, a decree, marital property agreement or proof that a legal action has been commenced, including a copy of an election filed pursuant to s. 861.08 (1), to establish the validity of the claim, the trustee shall suspend distribution of the portion of the property to which the claim relates pending resolution of the validity of the claim.


(c) If documentation purporting to support the claim is not submitted as described in par. (b), the trustee may proceed to distribute the property as if the notice of claim had not been received.


(4) A trustee is not liable to any person for any claim for damages as a result of distribution of property in accordance with the terms of the governing instrument prior to its receipt of a notice of claim under sub. (3) or for any damages claimed as a result of suspension of distribution under this section. A person who files a notice of claim under sub. (3) is not entitled to recover fees or expenses charged against such property by the trustee prior to or in connection with the establishment of the validity of his or her claim. A trustee shall pay interest or earnings which accrue during the suspension of any action under sub. (3).

766.575 - ANNOT.

History: 1987 a. 393; 1997 a. 188.