But Will It Really Change The Way Documents Are Notarized In NYS?
Effective February 25, 2022, remote notarization was legalized permanently in the State of New York, pursuant to section 135-c of the New York State Executive Law. Remote notarization became essential during the COVID-19 Pandemic (“Pandemic”) and appears to have become a convenience that will remain in effect post Pandemic.
Remote notarization allows an individual to have documents notarized before a Notary Public in a virtual setting, rather than in-person, using audio-visual technology, such as Zoom, Teams or other video communication platform, and other security protocols. Another benefit for Notaries is the convenience of either signing documents by using traditional ink or adding their signature electronically. Nonetheless, the Notary Public must indicate and include additional language, wherever he or she signs, stating that “[t]his remote notarial act involved the use of communication technology.” It is important to note that the Notary Public must be in the State of New York at the time notarization takes place, regardless of whether the act occurs in person or remotely.
A Notary Public must still verify the identity of the signor by any one of the following three (3) methods: (a) the Notary’s personal knowledge of the signor; (b) by communication technology that facilitates remote presentation by signor of an official, acceptable form of identification, credential analysis and identity proofing; or (c) through oath or affirmation of a credible witness who personally knows the signor and is either personally known to the Notary or identified by the previously referenced means of communication technology. There are resources available to Notaries to enable them to perform identity proofing and credential analysis with ease.
During remote notarization, a Notary Public must be able to see and interact with the signor in real time and witness the signor signing the document. Furthermore, the Notary Public must record the remote notarization and ensure that there is a back-up of the recording. Notaries are required to retain these recordings for ten (10) years and must maintain a journal of remote notarizations during their lifetime as Notaries or for five (5) years once they are no longer Notaries.
On January 31, 2023, Notaries who wish to provide remote notarization must register their capability to perform them with the New York State Department of State, Division of Licensing Services and pay an additional fee to act as an electronic Notary.
Based upon the described regulations associated with remote notarization, it seems that the State does not really want to afford this convenience to its residents especially as of January 31, 2023.
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