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
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.
137.12 137.12 Application.
137.12(1)(1)Except as otherwise provided in sub. (2) and except in ss. 137.25 and 137.26, this subchapter applies to electronic records and electronic signatures relating to a transaction.
137.12(2) (2)Except as otherwise provided in sub. (3), this subchapter does not apply to a transaction to the extent it is governed by:
137.12(2)(a) (a) Any law governing the execution of wills or the creation of testamentary trusts;
137.12(2)(b) (b) Chapters 401 and 403 to 410, other than s. 401.306.
137.12(2m) (2m)This subchapter does not apply to any of the following records or any transaction evidenced by any of the following records:
137.12(2m)(a) (a) Records governed by any law relating to adoption, divorce, or other matters of family law.
137.12(2m)(b) (b) Notices provided by a court.
137.12(2m)(c) (c) Court orders.
137.12(2m)(d) (d) Official court documents, including briefs, pleadings, and other writings, required to be executed in connection with court proceedings.
137.12(2p) (2p)This subchapter applies to a transaction governed by the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 USC 7001, et seq., but this subchapter is not intended to limit, modify, or supersede 15 USC 7001 (c).
137.12(2r) (2r)To the extent that it is excluded from the scope of 15 USC 7003, this subchapter does not apply to a notice to the extent that it is governed by a law requiring the furnishing of any notice of:
137.12(2r)(a) (a) The cancellation or termination of utility services, including water, heat, and power service.
137.12(2r)(b) (b) Default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by or a rental agreement for a primary residence of an individual;
137.12(2r)(c) (c) The cancellation or termination of health insurance or benefits or life insurance benefits, excluding annuities;
137.12(2r)(d) (d) Recall of a product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or safety; or
137.12(2r)(e) (e) A law requiring a document to accompany any transportation or handling of hazardous materials, pesticides, or other toxic or dangerous materials.
137.12(3) (3)This subchapter applies to an electronic record or electronic signature otherwise excluded from the application of this subchapter under subs. (2), (2m), and (2r) to the extent it is governed by a law other than those specified in subs. (2), (2m), and (2r).
137.12(4) (4)A transaction subject to this subchapter is also subject to other applicable substantive law.
137.12(5) (5)This subchapter applies to the state of Wisconsin, unless otherwise expressly provided.
137.12(6) (6)To the extent there is a conflict between this subchapter and ch. 407, ch. 407 governs.
137.12 History History: 2003 a. 294; 2009 a. 320, 322.
137.12 Annotation Legal Effects of Electronic Transactions. Serum. Wis. Law. Feb. 2005.
137.13 137.13 Use of electronic records and electronic signatures; variation by agreement.
137.13(1)(1)This subchapter does not require a record or signature to be created, generated, sent, communicated, received, stored, or otherwise processed or used by electronic means or in electronic form.
137.13(2) (2)This subchapter applies only to transactions between parties each of which has agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means. Whether the parties agree to conduct a transaction by electronic means is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances, including the parties' conduct.
137.13(3) (3)A party that agrees to conduct a transaction by electronic means may refuse to conduct other transactions by electronic means. The right granted by this subsection may not be waived by agreement.
137.13(4) (4)Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, the effect of any provision of this subchapter may be varied by agreement. Use of the words “unless otherwise agreed," or words of similar import, in this subchapter shall not be interpreted to preclude other provisions of this subchapter from being varied by agreement.
137.13(5) (5)Whether an electronic record or electronic signature has legal consequences is determined by this subchapter and other applicable law.
137.13 History History: 2003 a. 294.
137.14 137.14 Construction. This subchapter shall be construed and applied:
137.14(1) (1)To facilitate electronic transactions consistent with other applicable law;
137.14(2) (2)To be consistent with reasonable practices concerning electronic transactions and with the continued expansion of those practices; and
137.14(3) (3)To effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this subchapter among states enacting laws substantially similar to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act as approved and recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999.
137.14 History History: 2003 a. 294.
137.15 137.15 Legal recognition of electronic records, electronic signatures, and electronic contracts.
2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 50 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on December 6, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after December 6, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 12-6-19)