Statutory Legal Descriptions
Documents pertaining to real estate require the complete legal description of the property. s. 706.05(2m)(a) as defined as:
Metes & bounds require at a minimum the Quarter Section, Section, Township, Range and metes and bounds description associated with the Public Land Survey System or Private Claim or Government Lot. s. 66.0217(1)(c)
Plat/Subdivisions require at a minimum Lot, Outlot and Block number (as applies) and the Plat/Subdivision name. s 236.28 including the description reference to “County Plat”, “Town Plat” or “Municipal Plat” s. 236.45(2)(am)
Certified Survey Maps require at a minimum Lot or Outlot number, Map number, Volume and Page, if assigned, AND Document Number where map is recorded and County name. s. 236.34(3)
Condominiums require at a minimum Unit number, Condominium name and appurtenance number. s. 706.01(7r)(b)
Assessor’s Plats require at a minimum Lot or Outlot number, Block number (as applies) and Assessor’s Plat name. s.70.27(3)(a)
Statutory exception to complete legal description: s. 706.05(2m)(b) states, “The requirement of a full legal description under par. (a) does not apply to: …706.05(2m)(b)1.1. Descriptions of easements for the construction, operation, or maintenance of electric, gas, railroad, water, sewer, telecommunications, or telephone lines or facilities…”
Wisconsin Business Partner Best Practice Guide
Examples of “entry ready” (s. 706.05(2)(c)) and Best Practices for Complete Legal Descriptions (as adopted by the Jt. Alpha Committee on April 13, 2023):
Split of a Plat/Subdivision Lot description example:
A parcel of land being part of Lot 1, Block 1, Sunset Point, Town of Palm Trees, Paradise County, Wisconsin, described as follows:…
Certified Survey Map description example:
Lot 1 of Certified Survey Map No. 3000 as recorded in Volume 12 of CSM’s, Page 73 as Document No. 326065; located in the Northeast Quarter of the Northeast Quarter of Section 2, Township 18 North, Range 11 East, Town of Sea Shells, Paradise County, Wisconsin.
Metes and Bounds description example:
A parcel of land located in the Northeast Quarter of the Northeast Quarter of Section 2, Township 18 North, Range 11 East, Town of Sea Turtles, Paradise County, Wisconsin, described as follows:…
Government Lot description example:
A parcel of land being part of Government Lot 1 in Section 14, Township 20 North, Range 11 East, Town of Turquoise Waters, Paradise County, Wisconsin, described as follows:…
NOTE: Government Lots and Quarter (¼) Quarter (¼) of Metes and Bounds descriptions will be best recognized when provided at the beginning or the end of the legal description.
Exceptions in legal descriptions: Volume, Page and Document Numbers referring to exceptions in legal descriptions for lands conveyed to the DOT or a Certified Survey Map are appropriate.
Disclaimer: Each county may have some variations with how they index legal descriptions of documents in their recording system, if the above recommendations are followed, there should be fewer issues. Be sure to contact the county’s register of deeds office and real property tax lister directly if you need more county specific information. Furthermore, Brown County has a number of additional unique land systems. If you have questions, you can email: BC_Planning_and_Land_Services@browncountywi.gov