Case types handled by the Register in Probate include Adoption (AD), Probate matters (PR), Guardianships (GN), Civil Commitments (ME), and Wills (WL).


Access to Cases

There are specific statutes that govern which court records are "open" to the public and which court records are "confidential".  Court records such as adoptions, civil commitments and guardianships are considered confidential and therefore are closed to the public.  

You may use the State of Wisconsin Court Access website to search for information concerning cases that are open records and/or open to the public.  You may choose to search the entire state of Wisconsin by entering at least the first three characters of a party's last name and their first name; click SEARCH.  Alternatively, you may enter the name of the County by selecting the county from the Drop Down list and entering the specific case number.

 Forms are available on-line at or at the Clerk of Courts office.




Wisconsin Statutes require all estates to be settled as soon as reasonably possible and without unnecessary delay. The 10th Judicial District has set twelve (12) months as the benchmark for disposing of probate estates. All estates filed in Dunn County must be closed within twelve (12) months of the date the initial documents are filed. The inventory is to be filed no later than four (4) months after the issuance of letters.

Guidelines and Procedures

  • Transfer by Affidavit, $50,000 and Under
    When a decedent leaves property subject to administration, which does not exceed $50,000 in value, an interested person may use a small estate Transfer by Affidavit form.  This is a non-court form and is available through the Wisconsin State Bar's website at: Transfer by Affidavit
    • This form is not filed with the Probate Court. 
  • Informal Probate
    • Is a proceeding that the probate registrar supervises without exercise of continuous supervision by the Court. In some cases, you do not need an attorney to proceed informally. Informal administration proceedings are circuit court proceedings under probate jurisdiction. A Personal Representative’s Guide to Informal Estate Administration in Wisconsin  is available online at
  • Formal Probate
    • Is a proceeding before a probate judge who presides and supervises the administration of the estate. Formal administration requires an attorney, and all issues are brought before the circuit judge.
  • Summary Assignment
    • Can be used whenever the value of the estate, less the amount of the debts for which any property is security, does not exceed $50,000 and summary settlement does not apply. 
  • Summary Settlement
    • Proceeding can be used whenever there is a surviving spouse or minor children and the estate, less the amount of the debts for which any property is security, does not exceed $50,000. It may also be used whenever the value of the estate does not exceed the priority debts (e.g., taxes, administrative, funeral and burial, last illness, spousal and family allowances). 
  • Special Administration: 
  • To File a Claim Against and Estate
    • To file a claim against an estate that is being probated, please complete standard state form, Claim Against Estate (PR-1819). Please have your signature notarized. File the completed form with the Register in Probate along with a statutory $3.00 filing fee.


Guardianships and Conservatorships

When the individual is an adult: 

Guardianship is necessary when an individual is unable to manage their own affairs and a court has determined them to be incompetent.  A guardian is appointed by the court to act on their behalf, for the essential requirements of health and safety, the management and protection of the individual’s estate, or both.

A conservatorship is when an individual, who is not found to be incompetent, requests the court appoint someone to manage their estate voluntarily.


When the individual needs placement in a residential care facility or nursing home: 

Protective placement means an incompetent individual needs to be placed in a facility that provides for the care and custody of an individual in the least restrictive and/or most integrated setting to ensure needs are met.   Not everyone who is placed under guardianship needs protective placement. 

The following guidelines are available for review.   Please note these guidelines are provided only as a public service and is not meant to be legal advice.  The Clerk of Courts office cannot give legal advice and you should contact your attorney if you have legal questions.

The worksheet below is an optional tool to make sure annual accountings balance.   To use: type in the beginning balance from the annual account form mailed to you, then complete Schedules A, B, and C.  If the account balances, the difference will show $0.00 in GREEN. If it does not balance, it will display the difference in RED.

Guardianship questions? Issues?
The Wisconsin Guardianship Support Center (CSC) provides information and assistance on issues related to guardianship, protective placement, advance directives, and more. GWAAR



Will of Deceased Person

Wisconsin Law requires the filing of the original Will for every deceased person. Please see Sec. 856.05, Wis. Stats.

If a probate proceeding is required for a deceased person, the original Will can be filed at the same time the documents for probate administration are filed.

If no probate proceeding is required, please complete and file an Affidavit of No Probate (PR-3003.pdf) at the same time you file the original Will. This document requires that the signature be notarized. If you do not have access to a Notary Public, please wait to sign this form until you file it in person at the Clerk of Courts office so that your signature may be notarized.


Wills for Safekeeping

If you have an original Will and do not have a safe place to keep it, you may deposit the original Will for "safekeeping" with the Register in Probate. There is a statutory fee of $10.00 for this service (Sec. 853.09, Wis. Stats.)  The will shall be sealed in an envelope with the name and address of the testator and the date deposited.   If deposited by a person other than the testator, that fact shall be noted on the envelope.


Withdrawing a Will from Safekeeping

If you need to withdraw your original Will that you filed with the Register in Probate for safekeeping, you will need to show proper identification and provide the original receipt you were given when you originally filed the Will.

Only the person who wrote the Will or their written designee can remove the Will from safekeeping. The written designation must be signed by the person who wrote the Will and witnessed by two additional persons other than the person who will be withdrawing the Will from safekeeping.

If you withdraw your original Will and replace it with a new Will on the same day, there is not additional charge. However, if you withdraw your original Will and file another Will at a later date, there is an additional $10 charge.