Window to the Law: Remote Online Notarization Laws

Learn about new laws that are being enacted or considered by legislatures across the country, which will allow for individuals to have their transaction documents electronically notarized via an online platform.

Window to the Law: Remote Online Notarization Laws: Transcript

CLIENT: Wow, traffic is bad- it took me a half hour to get here. Here is the document I need notarized.

CLIENT: That is it? I drove all this way for that? I wish there was a way to notarize documents without having to meet in person.

With 10 states allowing remote online notarization, and another 17 states with pending legislation, the consumer's dream of remote online notarization is becoming a reality. I am Finley Maxson, NAR Senior Counsel, and in this edition of Window to the Law, we will discuss the basics of remote online notarization laws.

Remote online notarization makes an inconvenient process quicker and easier, allowing individuals to appear virtually before a notary and have documents notarized electronically. Remote online notarization makes it easier for your clients to consummate real estate transactions by eliminating the need for in-person authentication or document signing.

The remote online notarization process generally begins by the document preparer uploading documents to a notarization platform, such as a lender or lawyer. The notary and individual signer then meet virtually on the platform, where the notary authenticates the signer's identity. Once the authentication is complete, the notary guides the signer through the execution of the documents and the notary electronically notarizes the documents. The entire process is recorded and stored in the notary's electronic journal.

Current remote online notarization laws and regulations include a high threshold for authentication. Notarization platforms are using methods for authentication such as: biometrics; two-factor authentication; and requiring an individual to correctly answer questions drawn from an individual's credit report within a specified timeframe. In many ways, these authentication methods are more secure than traditional in-person authentication methods.

Virginia was the first state to enact a remote online notarization law and remains one of the broadest laws. Virginia allows a notary to authenticate and notarize documents for an individual located anywhere in the US, while other state laws limit remote online notarization to residents within the geographic boundaries of the state.

eNotarization laws create a pathway for the future adoption of remote online notarization. Thirty four states have adopted eNotarization laws, and these laws allow for the notary to create of an electronic notary seal on electronic documents and to store those documents electronically.

Check out these additional resources on remote online notarization. The State Issues Tracker is tracking developments in state remote online notarization laws and this video from notarize.com shows how an online notarization platform operates.

Thank you for watching this edition of Window to the Law.

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Additional Resources

Remote Notarization

Remote notarization: documents are notarized in an electronic form where the signer appears before the notary using online audio-video technology.