Real property transactions that create, alien, mortgage, or assign any interest in land located in Wisconsin are governed by chapter 706 of the Wisconsin Revised Statutes. A conveyance document is a written instrument evidencing such a transaction. An owner of real property can convey property or an interest in it by a deed in writing that identifies the parties involved in the transaction, identifies the land by legal description or by reference to recorded document, and identifies the interest conveyed, as well as any material term, condition, reservation, exception, or contingency upon which the interest is to arise, continue, be extinguished, limited, or encumbered.
Anyone who is legally entitled to own property in this state may convey the same through a real estate deed that is acknowledged or authenticated, recorded, and delivered. Real property in Wisconsin can be conveyed by those with the legal authority to do so: U.S. residents, aliens, and corporations. However, aliens who are not residents of the United States and corporations that have not been created under the laws of the United States may not acquire, hold, or own any interest in real property in Wisconsin. Real property owners in Wisconsin may convey property through the use of real estate deeds. Warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds, and special warranty deeds are some of the most commonly used conveyance documents in the state.
In order to be recorded and to be valid, Wisconsin real estate deeds must be signed by or on behalf of the grantor. If there is more than one grantor involved, each needs to sign. In the case of a conveyance that is alienating any interest of a married person under a homestead, except conveyances between spouses, the deed must be signed or joined in by a separate conveyance by or on behalf of each spouse (706.05). The persons signing the instrument must have their signatures acknowledged or authenticated as required by law before the instrument is presented for recording in the county where the property is located. The officer who is authorized to acknowledge or authenticate signatures must also sign the real estate deed (706.06). A notarial act in Wisconsin must be evidenced by a signed and dated certificate from the notarial officer. In addition to having the requisite signatures and acknowledgments in order for an instrument to be considered for recordation by a register of deeds in Wisconsin, standard document format, as outlined in section 59.43 of the Wisconsin Statutes, must also be met. The standard document format helps to ensure the legibility of documents, helps to avoid the inadvertent omission of information, and helps to ensure proper indexing so that documents can be easily accessed and researched.
Real Estate Transfer Form
When presenting a conveyance document to a register of deeds to be recorded in Wisconsin, the document must be accompanied by a completed Real Estate Transfer Form. Section 77.21(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides that "...submission of a completed real estate transfer return and collection by the register of the fee shall be prerequisites to acceptance of the conveyance for recording." The transfer form is not needed for exempt transactions, as listed under section 77.25 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
If a Wisconsin real estate deed is not recorded, it is not valid against a later purchaser of the same real estate, or portion of it, who purchases in good faith, for a valuable consideration, and records the real estate deed first. A conveyance of an estate or of interest in land that has been made or created with the intent to defraud a prior or subsequent purchaser for valuable consideration of the same lands, as against such purchases, will be void.