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By Joel Krooks, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

In response to COVID-19, Governor Cuomo declared a State of disaster emergency in New York on March 7, 2020. In order to cope with the disaster emergency, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Law on March 19, 2020 to allow any notarial act required under New York State Law to be performed utilizing video technology. Therefore, notaries are now able to notarize documents without seeing a person sign a document in person.

This Executive Order is in effect through April 18, 2020. For the notary to be valid the following conditions must be met:

  • If the person seeking the notary is not personally known to the Notary, then the person seeking the Notary’s service must present a valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference.
  • The video conference must allow for direct interactions between the person and the Notary. Pre-recorded videos of a person signing are not acceptable.
  • The person seeking the Notary must affirmatively say or represent that he or she is physically located in the State of New York.
  • The person seeking the notary must then transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed.

Once the Notary receives the transmitted electronic copy of the document there are two acceptable ways to make the notarization valid. One way is the Notary may notarize the transmitted electronic copy of the document and electronically send it back to the person. The second way is the person seeking the notary may also send the original document to the Notary after the video conference. If the notary receives the original document within thirty days of execution of the original signed document, the notary may notarize the original document as of the original date of execution. Good practice is to notarize the electronic copy on the same day and the original copy within in 30 days in order to ensure the document is properly notarized.

Here at Littman Krooks we are fully prepared to handle all of your estate and trust needs and with this new Executive Order we now have the ability to handle document signings which require documents to be notarized electronically. Contact us here.