Standard Document Format

Legal Real Estate Documents

If you wish to record legal documents affecting real estate such as deeds, land contracts, mortgages, satisfactions and assignments, you will need to use a form which conforms to the Wisconsin standard document format. Most office supply firms offer forms which do meet the requirements of Wisconsin Statute 59.43(2m).

Use of the standard document format helps to assure that important pieces of information are not inadvertently omitted, that the document is legible, and that it is properly indexed. Use of the standard document format also makes processing and retrieval more efficient.

Most states in the Midwest require some type of standard document format. If you are from a state outside of Wisconsin, you may add a cover-sheet to your document to make it conform to the Wisconsin standard document format. You can print or type the document title, return address and parcel identification number in the proper locations and attach the cover-sheet to the front of your document so that it becomes the first page. Every Wisconsin county register of deeds Office will have cover sheets available in their offices.


Requirements of the standard document format are as follows:

  • The entire document must be legible and reproducible.
  • The ink is black so that the document will scan properly.
  • The name and return address must be either (1) directly under the recording area, or (2) on the left side of the page and within the top 3 inches.
  • The pages are not hinged.
  • The paper is white, standard weight and letter or legal-sized.
  • The parcel identifier number must be placed directly under the return address.
  • The title of the document must be within the top 3 inches of the page but not in the 3 by 3 inch corner left blank for our recording stamp.
  • The top margin is a minimum of 1/2 inch for every page. Other margins are minimum of 1/4 inch.
  • The upper right hand corner of the document must be completely blank (at least 3 inches by 3 inches) for our official recording stamp.

Remember, you still need:

  • Complete legal descriptions, if the document refers to specific parcels of land.
  • Name of the person whom prepared the document.
  • Original signatures notarized or authenticated.
  • Proper fees accompanying the document.
  • Wisconsin Electronic Real Estate Transfer Return Receipt with the proper fee or exemption number for deeds, land contracts and other conveyances.