After a New York executive order (EO) temporarily allowed remote online notarizations as an emergency measure during the Covid 19 pandemic, a new state law permanently legalizes it. The EO, which expired on June 24, 2021, allowed notaries in New York to sign documents using audio-video technology, instead of signing and notarizing documents in person for health and safety purposes.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill 1780C on Dec. 22, 2021, authorizing New York notaries to conduct remote online notarizations (RON). The law will be effective on June 20, 2022. The law allows for notarization to be done electronically with the use of video conference technology. The bill amends the NY Executive Law by adding new section 137-a. It establishes definitions and sets forth registration requirements for electronic notaries public.
Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States. Yet, despite the increasing number of notarizations that occur annually, the industry has not adapted to societal changes and technologic advance. Notarization in New York still requires people to be physically present in front of a notary public, despite new technology that would allow for the same security over video and audio conference calls.
Electronic Notarization will allow homebound New York citizens to access notarial services and working people to have their documents notarized without losing wages for lost working hours spent at an in-person notary public. The environmental benefits of ROM are that it cuts down on paper usage.
A temporary remote online notarization process for paper and electronic documents similar to the rules applicable under the EO will be implemented, until replaced by the permanent RON system on January 31, 2023.The New York Secretary of State will enact regulations setting forth standards for ensuring the audio/video conference used for the notary session is secure, the notary session is conducted in real time and the notary is able to communicate with and identify the signer at the time of the signing. Identification of the signer will require credential analysis of the signer’s identification card (i.e., a passport or driver’s license) and correctly answering four out of five knowledge-based authentication questions within a set period of time (e.g., who is your car loan with, what address have you never lived at, etc.).
Notaries who conduct RONs will be required to:
- keep a recording of the session and the type of identification shown by the signer for ten years;
- register with the state; and
- be located in New York, although signers can be outside of NY state.
This new law will provide greater convenience to real estate buyers and sellers as well as benefiting the title, mortgage and real estate industries as real estate transactions become more digital.
For assistance with estate planning, contact the experienced Buffalo attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC by calling (585) 484-7432.