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General Information
Departments » Register in Probate » Probate

1. Do I need an attorney?

An attorney is not required for Informal probate or other proceedings. You may seek advise or the services of an attorney at any point during the process. A lawyer is required, however for Formal probate proceedings.

Probate office staff cannot give legal advice. Turn to the State Bar of Wisconsin's Lawyer referral and Information Service for Lawyer referrals, lawyer hotline, community referrals. 1-800-362-9082.

2. What are Domiciliary Letters? How do I get these Domiciliary Letters?

Domiciliary Letters are issued by the probate court either upon the filing of all required documents with the Probate Registrar in an informal proceedings, or after a hearing before the circuit judge or court commissioner in a formal proceeding.

The issuing of Domiciliary Letters shows the probate court has given authority to the named personal representative to act on behalf of the estate of the decedent and to perform all duties required to administer the estate according to statute.

Please note even though a person is nominated in a decedent's will as personal representative, they do not have any authority to act until Domiciliary Letters have been granted to them by the probate court.

3. What do I have to do when someone dies?

If the decedent had a Last Will and Testatment, it must be filed with the Probate office within 30 days of death, regardless if a probate proceeding will be required. (Pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes 856.05)

There is no fee for filing the original will.

4. What is Probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process for the orderly transfer of a decedent's assets to those who are entitled to receive them. The process ensures that notice is properly given, all debts, taxes, and expenses are paid, and the assets are distributed in accordance with the Last Will and Testament or to the heirs as determined by statute.

5. Where can I find information on how to file an informal probate?

A guide to informal probate can be found at under quick links. This website also has other probate information that may be helpful.

6. How may I file a claim against an estate?

There is a $3.00 filing fee to file a claim against an estate. Form PR-1819 Claim against Estate is available online at There is a time limit for filing a claim based on when the probate proceeding was commenced. You may review the court file in person or preview the case record on the internet to find the deadline for filing a claim.

7. How may I obtain standard court forms?

Standard, statewide forms are required by all Wisconsin Circuit Courts. Forms may be obtained online at

8. Are probate records available on the internet?

Shawano County Probate records are available online from 1994 to the present. Court records may be found at Probate records are open to the public.

Probate records are kept by the Register in Probate for 75 years and then offered to the State Historical Society. The records are located at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Research Center, Cofrin Library.

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