By Joseph M. Reynolds, Esq.
In the face of another pandemic surge, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation (S1780C) to reinstate remote notarization.
As part of his COVID state of emergency, former Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.7, providing for, among other pandemic related accommodations, remote notarization of documents. Under the prior Order, which expired on June 24, 2021, remote notarization was permitted for the witnessing of the signature(s) by two-way video conference; however, the signatories and notary still had to manually sign the document. The new law amends the Executive Law by adding a new Section 137-a, which provides for electronic notarization by the notary to coincide with electronic execution by the signatories to the document.
Another important distinction is that now only the electronic notary public must be physically located within the State of New York at the time of the performance of an electronic notarial act using communication technology, regardless of the location of the document signer. Under the prior Order, the signatory was required to affirmatively represent to the notary that he/she was physically located in New York State.
Before a notary can engage in electronic notarization, the notary must register with the New York State Secretary of State’s Office and comply with all the electronic notarization requirements as set forth in Executive Law § 137-a.
However, the aforementioned registration protocols remain under production by the Secretary of State’s Office, and as such, the Legislature is taking into its consideration an amendment which would essentially reinstate the provisions of former Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order until such time as the Secretary of State implements the registration process provided under the current version of the law.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available.