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137.22   Automated transactions.
137.23   Time and place of sending and receipt.
137.24   Transferable records.
137.25   Submission of written documents.
137.26   Interoperability.
subch. I of ch. 137 SUBCHAPTER I
NOTARIES AND COMMISSIONERS OF DEEDS;
NONELECTRONIC NOTARIZATION AND
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
137.01 137.01 Notaries.
137.01(1)(1) Notaries public who are not attorneys.
137.01(1)(a)(a) The secretary of financial institutions shall appoint notaries public who shall be United States residents and at least 18 years of age. Applicants who are not attorneys shall file an application with the department of financial institutions and pay a $20 fee.
137.01(1)(b) (b) The secretary of financial institutions shall satisfy himself or herself that the applicant has the equivalent of an 8th grade education, is familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a notary public and, subject to ss. 111.321, 111.322 and 111.335, does not have an arrest or conviction record.
137.01(1)(c) (c) If an application is rejected the fee shall be returned.
137.01(1)(d) (d) Qualified applicants shall be notified by the department of financial institutions to take and file the official oath and execute and file an official bond in the sum of $500, with a surety executed by a surety company and approved by the secretary of financial institutions.
137.01(1)(e) (e) The qualified applicant shall file his or her signature, post-office address and an impression of his or her official seal, or imprint of his or her official rubber stamp with the department of financial institutions.
137.01(1)(f) (f) A certificate of appointment as a notary public for a term of 4 years stating the expiration date of the commission shall be issued to applicants who have fulfilled the requirements of this subsection.
137.01(1)(g) (g) At least 30 days before the expiration of a commission the department of financial institutions shall mail notice of the expiration date to the holder of a commission.
137.01(1)(h) (h) A notary shall be entitled to reappointment.
137.01(1)(i) (i) A notary public appointed under this subsection may not do any of the following:
137.01(1)(i)1. 1. State or imply that he or she is an attorney licensed to practice law in this state.
137.01(1)(i)2. 2. Solicit or accept compensation to prepare documents for or otherwise represent the interests of another person in a judicial or administrative proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the United States or U.S. citizenship.
137.01(1)(i)3. 3. Solicit or accept compensation to obtain relief of any kind on behalf of another person from any officer, agent, or employee of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States.
137.01(1)(i)4. 4. Use the phrase "notario," "notarizaciones," "notarizamos," or "notario publico," or otherwise advertise in a language other than English on signs, pamphlets, stationery, or other written communication, by radio or television, or on the Internet his or her services as a notary public if the advertisement fails to include, in English and the language of the advertisement, all of the following:
137.01(1)(i)4.a. a. The statement, if in a written advertisement, in all capital letters and the same type size: "I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN WISCONSIN AND MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE." If the advertisement is given orally, the statement may be modified but must include substantially the same message and be understandable.
137.01(1)(i)4.b. b. The fees that a notary public may charge under sub. (9).
137.01(1)(j) (j) The prohibitions under par. (i) 2. and 3. do not apply to a notary public who is an accredited representative, as defined in 8 CFR 292.1 (a) (4).
137.01(1)(k) (k) A person who violates par. (i) may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both. A person who commits a 2nd or subsequent violation of par. (i) may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 years or both.
137.01(2) (2)Notaries public who are attorneys.
137.01(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (am), any United States resident who is licensed to practice law in this state is entitled to a permanent commission as a notary public upon application to the department of financial institutions and payment of a $50 fee. The application shall include a certificate of good standing from the supreme court, the signature and post-office address of the applicant and an impression of the applicant's official seal, or imprint of the applicant's official rubber stamp.
137.01(2)(am) (am) If a United States resident has his or her license to practice law in this state suspended or revoked, upon reinstatement of his or her license to practice law in this state, the person may be entitled to receive a certificate of appointment as a notary public for a term of 4 years. An eligible notary appointed under this paragraph is entitled to reappointment for 4-year increments. At least 30 days before the expiration of a commission under this paragraph the department of financial institutions shall mail notice of the expiration date to the holder of the commission.
137.01(2)(b) (b) The secretary of financial institutions shall issue a certificate of appointment as a notary public to persons who qualify under the requirements of this subsection. The certificate shall state that the notary commission is permanent or is for 4 years.
137.01(2)(c) (c) The supreme court shall file with the department of financial institutions notice of the surrender, suspension or revocation of the license to practice law of any attorney who holds a permanent commission as a notary public. Such notice shall be deemed a revocation of said commission.
137.01(3) (3)Notarial seal or stamp.
137.01(3)(a)(a) Except as authorized in s. 137.19, every notary public shall provide an engraved official seal which makes a distinct and legible impression or official rubber stamp which makes a distinct and legible imprint on paper. The impression of the seal or the imprint of the rubber stamp shall state only the following: "Notary Public," "State of Wisconsin" and the name of the notary. But any notarial seal in use on August 1, 1959, shall be considered in compliance.
137.01(3)(b) (b) The impression of the notarial seal upon any instrument or writing or upon wafer, wax or other adhesive substance and affixed to any instrument or writing shall be deemed an affixation of the seal, and the imprint of the notarial rubber stamp upon any instrument or writing shall be deemed an affixation of the rubber stamp.
137.01(4) (4)Attestation.
137.01(4)(a)(a) Every official act of a notary public shall be attested by the notary public's written signature or electronic signature, as defined in s. 137.11 (8).
137.01(4)(b) (b) Except as authorized in s. 137.19, all certificates of acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances, or any written instrument required or authorized by law to be acknowledged or sworn to before any notary public, within this state, shall be attested by a clear impression of the official seal or imprint of the rubber stamp of said officer, and in addition thereto shall be written or stamped either the day, month and year when the commission of said notary public will expire, or that such commission is permanent.
137.01(4)(c) (c) The official certificate of any notary public, when attested and completed in the manner provided by this subsection, shall be presumptive evidence in all cases, and in all courts of the state, of the facts therein stated, in cases where by law a notary public is authorized to certify such facts.
137.01(5) (5)Powers. Notaries public have power to act throughout the state. Notaries public have power to demand acceptance of foreign and inland bills of exchange and payment thereof, and payment of promissory notes, and may protest the same for nonacceptance or nonpayment, may administer oaths, take depositions and acknowledgments of deeds, and perform such other duties as by the law of nations, or according to commercial usage, may be exercised and performed by notaries public.
137.01(5m) (5m)Confidentiality.
137.01(5m)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), a notary public shall keep confidential all documents and information contained in any documents reviewed by the notary public while performing his or her duties as a notary public and may release the documents or the information to a 3rd person only with the written consent of the person who requested the services of the notary public.
137.01(5m)(b) (b) Deposition transcripts may be released to all parties of record in an action. A notary public may not release deposition transcripts that have not been made part of the public record to a 3rd party without the written consent of all parties to the action and the deponent. When a deposition transcript has been made part of the public record, a notary public who is also a court reporter may, subject to a protective order or agreement to the contrary, release the deposition transcript or sell the transcript to 3rd parties without the consent of the person who requested the services of the notary public.
137.01(5m)(c) (c) Any notary public violating this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of sub. (8) and may be required to forfeit not more than $500.
137.01(6) (6)Authentication.
137.01(6)(a)(a) The secretary of financial institutions may certify to the official qualifications of any notary public and to the genuineness of the notary public's signature and seal or rubber stamp.
137.01(6)(c) (c) Any certificate specified under this subsection shall be presumptive evidence of the facts therein stated.
137.01(6m) (6m)Change of residence. A notary public does not vacate his or her office by reason of his or her change of residence within the United States. Written notice of any change of address shall be given to the department of financial institutions within 10 days of the change.
137.01(7) (7)Official records to be filed. When any notary public ceases to hold office, the notary public, or in case of the notary public's death the notary public's personal representative, shall deposit the notary public's official records and papers with the department of financial institutions. If the notary or personal representative, after the records and papers come to his or her hands, neglects for 3 months to deposit them, he or she shall forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $500. If any person knowingly destroys, defaces, or conceals any records or papers of any notary public, the person shall forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $500, and shall be liable for all damages resulting to the party injured. The department of financial institutions shall receive and safely keep all such papers and records.
137.01(8) (8)Misconduct. If any notary public shall be guilty of any misconduct or neglect of duty in office the notary public shall be liable to the party injured for all the damages thereby sustained.
137.01(9) (9)Fees. A notary public shall be allowed the following fees:
137.01(9)(a) (a) For drawing and copy of protest of the nonpayment of a promissory note or bill of exchange, or of the nonacceptance of such bill, not more than $5 in the cases where by law such protest is necessary, but in no other case.
137.01(9)(b) (b) For drawing and copy of every other protest, not more than $5.
137.01(9)(c) (c) For drawing, copying and serving every notice of nonpayment of a note or bill, or nonacceptance of a bill, not more than $5.
137.01(9)(d) (d) For drawing any affidavit, or other paper or proceeding for which provision is not herein made, not more than $5 for each folio, and for copying the same 12 cents per folio.
137.01(9)(e) (e) For taking the acknowledgment of deeds, and for other services authorized by law, the same fees as are allowed to other officers for similar services, but the fee per document shall not exceed $5.
137.01 AnnotationThe residency requirement under subs. (1) and (2) is constitutional. 74 Atty. Gen. 221.
137.01 Annotation Protecting the Privacy of Notary Public Records. Closen & Orsinger. Wis. Law. March 2002.
137.01 Annotation Notary Public Title Incurs Responsibility. Nelson. Wis. Law. June 2002.
137.02 137.02 Commissioners of deeds.
137.02(1) (1) The governor shall have power to appoint one or more commissioners in any of the United States, or of the territories belonging to the United States and in foreign countries, who shall hold office for a term of 4 years unless sooner removed. Every commissioner appointed under this subsection shall take the official oath before a judge or clerk of one of the courts of record of the state or territory or country in which the commissioner shall reside. The commissioner shall file the oath, with an impression of the commissioner's seal of office and a statement of the commissioner's post-office address, in the office of the secretary of state. The commissioner shall at the same time pay into the treasury the sum of $5, at which time the commissioner's commission shall issue.
137.02(2) (2) A commissioner appointed under sub. (1) shall have authority to take the acknowledgment and proof of the execution of deeds, conveyances and leases of any lands lying in this state, or written instruments relating thereto, or of any contract or any other writing, sealed or unsealed, to be used or recorded in this state; to administer oaths required to be used in this state; to take and certify depositions to be used in the courts of this state, either under a commission, by consent of parties or on notice to the opposite party; and all such acts done pursuant to the laws of this state and certified under the commissioner's hand and seal of office shall be as valid as if done by a proper officer of this state.
137.02 History History: 1993 a. 482; 1997 a. 254.
137.02 Annotation "All the damages" in sub. (8) incorporates the American rule of damages that attorney fees are not recoverable by a prevailing party unless certain exceptions apply. Bank One, Wisconsin v. Koch, 2002 WI App 176, 256 Wis. 2d 618, 649 N.W.2d 339, 01-2174.
subch. II of ch. 137 SUBCHAPTER II
ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS AND RECORDS;
ELECTRONIC NOTARIZATION AND
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
137.11 137.11 Definitions. In this subchapter:
137.11(1) (1) "Agreement" means the bargain of the parties in fact, as found in their language or inferred from other circumstances and from rules, regulations, and procedures given the effect of agreements under laws otherwise applicable to a particular transaction.
137.11(2) (2) "Automated transaction" means a transaction conducted or performed, in whole or in part, by electronic means or by the use of electronic records, in which the acts or records of one or both parties are not reviewed by an individual in the ordinary course in forming a contract, performing under an existing contract, or fulfilling an obligation required by the transaction.
137.11(3) (3) "Computer program" means a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in an information processing system in order to bring about a certain result.
137.11(4) (4) "Contract" means the total legal obligation resulting from the parties' agreement as affected by this subchapter and other applicable law.
137.11(5) (5) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
137.11(6) (6) "Electronic agent" means a computer program or an electronic or other automated means used independently to initiate an action or respond to electronic records or performances in whole or in part, without review or action by an individual.
137.11(7) (7) "Electronic record" means a record that is created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means.
137.11(8) (8) "Electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.
137.11(9) (9) "Governmental unit" means:
137.11(9)(a) (a) An agency, department, board, commission, office, authority, institution, or instrumentality of the federal government or of a state or of a political subdivision of a state or special purpose district within a state, regardless of the branch or branches of government in which it is located.
137.11(9)(b) (b) A political subdivision of a state or special purpose district within a state.
137.11(9)(c) (c) An association or society to which appropriations are made by law.
137.11(9)(d) (d) Any body within one or more of the entities specified in pars. (a) to (c) that is created or authorized to be created by the constitution, by law, or by action of one or more of the entities specified in pars. (a) to (c).
137.11(9)(e) (e) Any combination of any of the entities specified in pars. (a) to (d).
137.11(10) (10) "Information" means data, text, images, sounds, codes, computer programs, software, databases, or the like.
137.11(11) (11) "Information processing system" means an electronic system for creating, generating, sending, receiving, storing, displaying, or processing information.
137.11(12) (12) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
137.11(13) (13) "Security procedure" means a procedure employed for the purpose of verifying that an electronic signature, record, or performance is that of a specific person or for detecting changes or errors in the information in an electronic record. The term includes a procedure that requires the use of algorithms or other codes, identifying words or numbers, encryption, callback, or other acknowledgment procedures.
137.11(14) (14) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan native village, which is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.
137.11(15) (15) "Transaction" means an action or set of actions occurring between 2 or more persons relating to the conduct of business, commercial, or governmental affairs.
137.11 History History: 2003 a. 294.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 200 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before April 18, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-14)