In March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Governor Murphy declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency which quickly put emergency procedures in place. These procedures allowed the State to continue on a somewhat normal basis. One of the many procedures included the authorization of remote notarization. This meant that an individual commissioned as a Notary Public in the State of New Jersey could validate a person’s signature using communication technology.
The remote notarization procedure was set to expire when the State of Emergency was terminated. However, Governor Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill No. 4250 (the “Remote Notarization Act”) on July 22, 2021 and was made effective as of October 22, 2021. The Remote Notarization Act states that a Notary Public or other individual who is authorized by law to perform a notarial act (i.e. a lawyer) can perform a remote notarization in accordance with the following rules:
- The person performing the notarial act can reasonably confirm both the remotely located person and the notary are looking at the same document;
- The identity of the person signing the document can be verified by (i) personal knowledge of the individual, (ii) by providing two types of identification or (iii) an oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the notary as to the identity of the individual signing;
- The notarial officer creates an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act and such recording is kept for ten (10) years; and
- The notary certificate must indicate that the act was performed using communication technology.
It is important to note that the Remote Notarization Act does not apply to the notarization of a Last Will and Testament or a Codicil to a Last Will and Testament. Remote notarization can be utilized for various documents, including Deeds, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Proxies.
New Jersey joins a growing list of states that have enacted some form of permanent remote notarization and allows our firm to continue to serve our clients while navigating the Pandemic and evolving into the digital era.
The Remote Notarization Act sets forth additional rules that may impact you. If you have any questions regarding the Remote Notarization Act or how we may serve you, please contact our office.