Joseph D. Nohavicka
“Specific procedures must be followed to remotely notarize a document and to help the public and notaries public understand the Executive Order, the New York State Department of Licensing has posted clear guidelines.”
On March 19, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.7, which authorizes notaries public to officiate documents remotely. Because of that measure, transactions have been able to move forward as people are warming up to this new procedure. There has been some resistance to using the e-notary option now available because of concerns of authentication and chain of custody of the documents going back and forth electronically. This comment is submitted to assist in alleviating those concerns by illustrating the procedure and by recommending a certification form to use for purposes of mapping out and memorializing the new procedure.
Specific procedures must be followed to remotely notarize a document and to help the public and notaries public understand the Executive Order, the New York State Department of Licensing has posted clear guidelines on its website (last accessed April 21, 2020).
According to the executive order, the notary and the person seeking services must have direct interaction, with no pre-recorded videos of the person signing; the person must prove that they are physically in the state of New York; the person must send a legible copy of the signed document to the notary electronically on the date it’s signed, with the notary sending a copy of the document back; and the notary will later re-notarize the original signed document after receiving it, along with the electronically notarized copy, within 30 days.
STEP ONE: You set up a video conference allowing for direct, live interaction between the notary and the person signing the document—WhatsApp, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, e.g.
NOTARY: Can you see me okay?
Person Signing: Huh? Yeah … hey!
STEP TWO: That person must then present to the camera, so the Notary can see, a valid photo ID.
NOTARY: Can you please put your photo ID up to the camera?
Person: Driver’s license good?
NOTARY: Yes. Face the photo-side toward the camera. Closer … cloooooser! Okay hold it there. And you are Marc Bolan?
STEP THREE: The person signing must affirmatively say to the notary that they are in the state of New York.
NOTARY: And are you present in the State of New York right now?
Person: Yeah. Queens.
STEP FOUR: The person signing must then sign the document and send the signed document by email or fax on the same day that it was signed.
NOTARY: Great! Please sign the document. There ya go. Excellent. Okay, please e-mail me or fax the document to my number, okay?
Person: Can I do it tomorrow?
NOTARY: NO!!! Today.
STEP FIVE: The notary then notarizes the copy of the document they receive and sends it back to the person who signed it.
STEP SIX: The notary will later re-notarize the original signed document after receiving it, along with the electronically notarized copy. But that must be done within 30 days of the electronic notarization.
STEP SEVEN: The notary then creates and executes an e-notary certification.
This is a form that I submit to my brother and sister notaries to consider using:
E-Notary Certification | [Notarization Made Pursuant To Executive Order 202.7]
______________________, a notary public duly commissioned by the New York State Secretary of State’s office, states the following under penalties for perjury:
1. On ____________________, 2020, I witnessed the annexed document(s) being signed, using audiovideo technology, and then notarized same by placing my seal and signature thereon.
2. The person seeking the Notary’s services, was not personally known to me and, therefore, upon request, presented a valid photo ID to me during the video conference held this day via __________________.
3. The video conference allowed for direct interaction between the person signing and me.
4. The person signing affirmatively represented that they were physically situated in the State of New York, County of ________________, Your affirmant was located at _________________________, the time of this electronic notarization.
5. I then witnessed the person execute the document(s). The person then transmitted, via electronic means a legible copy of the signed document(s) directly to my email address (____________________) on the same date it was signed.
6. I then notarized the transmitted copy of the document(s) and transmitted the same back to the person on the same day.
7. The notarization of the original signed document will be completed within thirty days after the date of execution, which said original will be dated this day, _____________, 2020, and kept together with the electronically notarized copy.
Dated: __________, New York ______________, 2020
Commission Expires: _________________
Executive Order 202.7, is a valuable tool that facilitates legal and transactional work while maintaining proper public health protocols currently in place.