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  • Rotunda Report
    March 25, 2024

    Governor Signs Trust Law and Remote Witnessing Bills

    Two bills supported by the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Section were signed into law on March 21, 2024.

    Devin Martin

    Gov. Evers signing a bill supported by the State Bar's RPPT SectionMar 25, 2024 – Governor Evers signed two bills into law last week, the culmination of a persistent and effective advocacy effort by the State Bar’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust (RPPT) Section.

    Devin Martin Devin Martin, is the grassroots outreach coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He can be reached by email, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.

    The first, SB 759, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 127, was sponsored by Sen. Eric Wimberger (R – Green Bay) and Rep. Ron Tusler (R – Harrison), both members of the State Bar. The primary purpose of Wisconsin Act 127 is to clarify and update the Wisconsin Trust Code (Chapter 701) and address various issues that have arisen since the Code’s original adoption, which was effective July 1, 2014. In addition to changes within Chapter 701 of the Wisconsin statutes, the bill also adopts the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act, which will restate Wisconsin’s Chapter 702. The bill also serves as a trailer bill to the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, a uniform law that was adopted in Wisconsin in 2016 related to access to a person’s digital assets after death. Finally, the bill incorporates the Uniform Trust Decanting Act into the Wisconsin Trust Code. “Decanting” is the term used to describe the distribution of assets from one trust into a second trust.

    Gov. Evers signing a bill

    The second, SB 898, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 130, was sponsored by Sen. Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan) and Rep. Ron Tusler (R – Harrison). The law allows for electronic and remote witnessing and notarization of estate planning documents. This legislation will help Wisconsinites to expedite and streamline the estate planning process and will be especially helpful for those who have limited mobility or health issues preventing them from easily appearing in person to sign estate planning documents. The legislation modernizes witnessing and notarization requirements while including robust protections against fraud and undue influence when an individual wishes to take advantage of audio-video communication technology when executing such documents.

    The State Bar is appreciative of the sponsors of this bill for getting the legislation to the Governor’s desk, to the Governor for signing it, and to the members of the RPPT Section for their tireless advocacy efforts to get the legislation passed into law.

    RPPT members and State Bar Lobbyist Cale Battles

    Pictured left to right: Atty. Phillip Miller; Atty.  Catherine Priebe; State Bar Lobbyist Cale Battles; Atty. Ken Barczak. All Attys. are Ex-Officio members of the RPPT Section. 

    What You Can Do: State Bar of Wisconsin Advocacy Network

    Advocacy Network

    You can send a message thanking your lawmakers for their support of this or any other legislation using the Advocacy Network. Select "Send a Message to Wisconsin Elected Officials" to select your state lawmakers based on your home address.

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