Validity of notarial acts.
Rules; powers of the department.
Uniformity of application and construction.
Relation to electronic signatures in global and national commerce act.
In this chapter:
“Acknowledgment” means a declaration by an individual before a notarial officer that the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record and, if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or entity identified in the record.
“Department” means the department of financial institutions.
“Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
“Electronic signature” means an electronic symbol, sound, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by an individual with the intent to sign the record.
“In a representative capacity” means acting as any of the following:
An authorized officer, agent, partner, trustee, or other representative for a person other than an individual.
A public officer, personal representative, guardian, or other representative, in the capacity stated in a record.
An agent or attorney-in-fact for a principal.
An authorized representative of another in any other capacity.
“Notarial act” means an act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the law of this state. The term includes taking an acknowledgment, administering an oath or affirmation, taking a verification on oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy, and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument.
“Notarial officer” means a notary public or other individual authorized to perform a notarial act.
“Notary public” means an individual commissioned to perform a notarial act.
“Official stamp” means a physical image affixed to or embossed on a tangible record or an electronic image attached to or logically associated with an electronic record.
“Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, statutory trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.
“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.
“Sign” means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, any of the following:
To attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.
“Signature” means a tangible symbol or an electronic signature that evidences the signing of a record.
“Stamping device” means any of the following:
A physical device capable of affixing to or embossing on a tangible record an official stamp.
An electronic device or process capable of attaching to or logically associating with an electronic record an official stamp.
“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.
“Tamper-evident” means that any change to a record generates evidence of the change.
“Verification on oath or affirmation” means a declaration, made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a notarial officer, that a statement in a record is true.
History: 2019 a. 125
Notaries public who are not attorneys. 140.02(1)(a)(a)
The department 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 and pay a $20 fee.
The department shall satisfy itself 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
, does not have an arrest or conviction record.
If an application is rejected the fee shall be returned.
Qualified applicants shall be notified by the department 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 department.
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.
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.
At least 30 days before the expiration of a commission the department shall provide notice of the expiration date to the holder of a commission.
A notary shall be entitled to reappointment.
A notary public appointed under this subsection may not do any of the following:
State or imply that he or she is an attorney licensed to practice law in this state.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The prohibitions under par. (i) 2.
do not apply to a notary public who is an accredited representative, as defined in 8 CFR 292.1
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.
(2) Notaries public who are attorneys. 140.02(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 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.
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 shall provide notice of the expiration date to the holder of the commission.
The department 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.
The supreme court shall file with the department 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.
Except as authorized in s. 137.19
, and except as provided in s. 140.17
, 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.
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.
Every official act of a notary public shall be attested by the notary public's written signature or electronic signature.
Except as authorized in s. 137.19
, and except when a notary public properly uses an official stamp under s. 140.17
, 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.
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.
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.
Except as provided in par. (c)
, a notary public or any provider of communication technology shall keep confidential all documents and information provided to the notary public or provider of communication technology or contained in any documents reviewed by the notary public or provider of communication technology while performing his, her, or its duties as a notary public or provider of communication technology and may release the documents or the information to a 3rd person only with the separate written consent, independent from any other consent, permission, disclosure, or acknowledgement, in a manner consistent with applicable law, of the person who requested the services of the notary public or the provider of communication technology. The prohibition under this paragraph does not apply when the notary public or the provider of communication technology is complying with a request from a regulatory agency or supervisory agency or is responding to a lawful subpoena or court order.
A notary public or provider of communication technology may release deposition transcripts to all parties of record in an action.
Subject to subd. 1.
, a notary public or provider of communication technology 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 unless required by a regulatory agency or supervisory agency or in response to a lawful subpoena or court order.
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.
Any notary public or provider of communication technology violating this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of sub. (8)
and may be required to forfeit not more than $500 for each violation.
The department 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.
Any certificate specified under this subsection shall be presumptive evidence of the facts therein stated.
(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 within 10 days of the change.
(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. 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 shall receive and safely keep all such papers and records.
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.
Except when the department has established different fees as provided in s. 140.27 (1) (a) 1.
, a notary public shall be allowed the following fees:
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.
For drawing and copy of every other protest, not more than $5.
For drawing, copying and serving every notice of nonpayment of a note or bill, or nonacceptance of a bill, not more than $5.
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.
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.
“All the damages" in former s. 137.01 (8) [now 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
The residency requirement under former s. 137.01 (1) and (2) [now subs. (1) and (2)] is constitutional. 74 Atty. Gen. 221