Who We Are
The Register in Probate keeps a record of all wills admitted to probate, decedent's estates, testamentary trusts, guardianships, protective placements, civil mental health commitments and records filed for safekeeping.
Milwaukee County probate records reach as far back as the 1830s! Probate records are a valuable source of information, whether you're searching for the history of your own family, or the families of Milwaukee's famous brewing and manufacturing magnates. They can show family relationships, household inventories, land or building locations and descriptions, and some court transcripts.
- For records created before 1985, the only way to view them is in person at the Milwaukee County Register in Probate office in Room 207 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Records may not be removed from the office unless a court order is issued. Records also may not be altered, mutilated or destroyed.
- For records created between 1985 and June 1, 2003, you can view them in-person or online at Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.
- For records created after June 1, 2003, the only way to access them is online at Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.
There is no cost to conduct a search on your own. However, if you mail us a request for a search, a $4 search fee must be pre-paid, and the request must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The cost to make copies of records is $1 per page.
You do not need to make an appointment to view an open, current record. Our office hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
You must make an appointment to view closed or microfilmed records. Call us at (414) 278-4452 to schedule your appointment.
Safekeeping of Wills
The Milwaukee County Register in Probate will hold a copy of your will for safekeeping. There is a $10 fee for this service. A will held in safekeeping cannot be viewed! However, a will held in safekeeping can be withdrawn by either the writer of the will or a written designee. The writer of the will may withdraw the document by bringing proper identification along with the original receipt from when the will was filed. A written designee must also bring a written designation sign by the person who wrote the will and witnessed by two additional persons other than the person withdrawing the will.
Call us (414) 278-4444.
This checklist is designed to help people who do not have attorneys who are filing in Milwaukee County. Nothing in this document is intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, or have questions regarding your specific situation, you should consult with an attorney.
- $20 State of Wisconsin Vital Records Filing Fee (if original birth certificate is from Wisconsin)
- $4 for certified copy of order for adoption (optional)
Adult adoptions are filed in the county where the adult seeking to adopt another adult (the “petitioner”) resides.
A name change is not granted in an adult adoption unless a separate name change petition is also filed prior to or in conjunction with the adoption petition. Visit the Milwaukee Justice Center for name change information.
A change on the birth certificate is not automatic in an adult adoption. It is for the court to decide on a case-by-case basis.
- Complete the following forms:
Bring the original and one copy of the forms to file in Room 207. A case will be opened and a judge assigned. You will be sent to get that judge’s courtroom to get a court date from his/her clerk.
- Prior to your court date, prepare the following to bring to the hearing:
- GF-303 Order on Petition for Adult Adoption. Fill out the caption (top portion with name, date of birth, case number) and #9 only. Original and one copy.
- State Report of Adoption Form. Use black ink only. No whiteouts, cross outs or erasures. Fill out page 1 (Sections I, II, III and IV) completely.
- A check or money order for $20 made payable to “State of Wis. Vital Records” (if original birth certificate is from Wisconsin). No cash.
- Appear for your hearing. The person seeking to adopt, their spouse, if any, and the person seeking to be adopted must appear in person for the hearing. If you want a certified copy of the order, go to Room 207 following the hearing and pay $4 after the hearing.