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Client Alert

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Newly Enacted New York Law on Electronic Notary Authentication

A state authorized official, a Notary, must authenticate the execution of certain legal documents (such as wills and mortgages) under most state laws. Given that the purpose of notarization is the authentication of signatures by other parties, notarization was never contemplated to be covered under the Federal or uniform state electronic signature laws. In response to the current crisis, on March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.7, authorizing remotely conducted notarization in the State of New York.

Set forth below is a brief summary of Executive Order No. 202.7.

  • The Notary may witness the document execution by video conference that allows for direct interaction between the signatory and the Notary.
  • If the signatory is not personally known to the Notary, the signatory must present a valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference, not before or after.
  • The signatory must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of New York.
  • The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date such document was executed.
  • The Notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the document back to the person.

The Notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution so long as the Notary receives such original signed document together with the initial electronic notarization within thirty days after the date of execution.