Emergency Rules Coming Soon for Wisconsin Notaries

Mar 17, 2020

COVID-19 is changing how we do business and has fast tracked implementation of remote online notarial (RON) sessions for Wisconsin transactions to provide an alternative to in-person real estate closings and to help flatten the curve. Over the last 2 days Knight Barry Title, along with a team of RON professionals, has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Financials Institutions (WDFI) to permit the execution and notarizing of real estate documents (including Deeds and Mortgages) with approved RON platform companies and by RON notaries commissioned or licensed in one of the other 22 states in the nation which have passed RON legislation (including Minnesota and Florida). Further we anticipate that the WDFI will quickly create a process to authorize a Wisconsin notary to conduct RON closings after training with an approved RON platform company.
Thus, as of this moment, Knight Barry Title can help with social distancing concerns. If you have a real estate closing where a seller is unable or unwilling to come into our offices to sign the Deed and other closing documents, with sufficient notice we should be able to accommodate the seller to enter our RON platform to sign the closing documents from the convenience of their home. If you would like to see a version of a RON closing in action please watch our video and then contact your local Knight Barry Title office to address your specific needs. 
In the paragraph above, we stated that we could accommodate SELLERS but made no mention of BUYERS or BORROWERS -why? We are happy to accommodate cash buyers; however, if the BUYER is obtaining a mortgage loan to purchase a home in Wisconsin, we need to ask the buyer’s lender whether they are ready for RON transactions. Unfortunately, we suspect many lenders are not quite ready. Why? Because the lenders’ questions are quite a bit broader than Knight Barry Title’s questions – primarily focusing on what to do with the electronically signed Promissory Note to ensure compliance with State and Federal laws. The scope of how to meet these compliance requirements is simply too broad for this article. 
As a little background, Governor Evers signed Wisconsin's remote online notary bill on Tuesday March 3, 2020. The bill, which is now 2019 Wisconsin Act 125 (https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/related/acts/125.pdf) officially takes effect on the 2nd month after publication (so May 1, 2020) and the Act requires rule making by the WDFI which under the Act will take a number of months. If you had asked us on March 3rd when can we have a Wisconsin RON closing? We would have answered August-September 2020. As you’ll see from the above, our answer is now today.  
Note that as of this moment RON may not be used in Wisconsin for creation and execution of a number of testamentary documents including wills, certain trusts and powers of attorney. Although this too may change. For a full list of documents which are not covered by the new RON law, see Section 140.145(10), Wis Stats.
Please let us know if you have questions, comments or concerns. Knight Barry Title is your partner to keep the economy moving in this time where we all are pioneers. Stay safe. 
Knight Barry Title is ready to conduct Remote Online Notarization (RON) transactions. This video is a demonstration of how the new RON services work.