Legal Alert: Remote Notarial Acts During COVID-19 Pandemic
On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law Bill A3903/S2336 which allows a notary public appointed in the State of New Jersey or an officer authorized to take oaths, affirmations, and affidavits, or to take acknowledgements ("Officer"), to notarize documents for a remotely located individual under the following circumstances:
1.The notary public or Officer: "(a) has personal knowledge of the identity of the individual appearing before the notary public, which is based upon dealings with the individual sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed; (b) has satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notary public; or (c) has obtained satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by using at least two different types of identity proofing" ["Identity proofing" is defined as a process or service by which a third person provides a notary or officer with a means to verify the identity of a remotely located individual by review of personal information from private data sources];
2.The notary public or Officer is able to confirm that the record before him/her is the same record the individual is executing or making a statement regarding; and
3.The notary public or Officer creates an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act. The recording must be retained for a period of at least 10 years after the recording unless a different period is required by a rule adopted by the State Treasurer.
4.The certificate and affixation requirements indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology.
There are exceptions where remote notary services are not deemed valid and/or not authorized, including the execution of a will or codicil, documents prepared under the Uniform Commercial Code and documents for matters involving divorce or other matters of family law.The bill will automatically expire upon recession of Governor Murphy's Executive Order No. 103 of 2020.
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