The COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of our lives—from socially to financially to legally. Many of our daily tasks have become impossible, and those with urgent legal matters are unsure of how to complete certain processes amidst local or statewide quarantines.
To mitigate the pandemic’s consequences, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order suspending and modifying certain laws. One of these modifications allows notarizations to take place using audio-video technology, which is not normally permitted.
Notarization is the process of officially validating a person’s identity when they sign certain documents. This is a routine element of countless legal procedures, but COVID-19 prevents us from meeting in person as we normally would. Governor Cuomo’s order allowing “e-notarizations” resolves this issue for people who are purchasing properties, signing powers of attorney, and witnessing documents such as wills, healthcare proxies, and other estate planning documents.
According to the executive order, you must take the following steps to ensure your E-Notarization is legally valid:
- Set up a "live" video conference with a New York State notary.
- Show the Notary a valid photo identification. This can be waived if the Notary knows you personally.
- Confirm that you are physically located in the State of New York.
- Sign the document.
- Send a copy to the Notary via fax or other electronic means. There are some great apps like Genius Scan that can create a pdf from a picture of a document.
- The Notary notarizes the document and sends it back to you.
The Notary can notarize the original signed document as of the date of your video conference if they receive the original signed document and electronically notarized copy within 30 days of the conference.
Currently, the executive order is scheduled through April 18, 2020, but Governor Cuomo may extend or adjust this legislation. As always, we will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.
Let the Law Office of Robert J. Maher Address Your Concerns
Are you worried about how COVID-19 could affect your sensitive legal matters? From estate planning to immigration, legal processes and documents require careful approaches, timely procedures, and professional oversight. At the Law Office of Robert J. Maher, we are working diligently to ensure our clients have what they need during this global crisis. While we are conducting services remotely, we are still fully operational and plan to do everything in our professional power to continue supporting our community.