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Can I notarize a document remotely online during the COVID-19 crisis?

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What is remote online notarization?

Remote online notarization (“RON”) “allows banks, title companies, law firms, and other businesses to complete important transactions that require signatures and a notary seal remotely with the aid of online audio and video technology.”[1] On March 26, 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued Proclamation No. 37-JBE-2020, which authorizes RON during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The requirement that an individual appear personally before a notary public at the time of notarization is satisfied if the proper RON procedure is followed.


Who can perform remote online notarization?

Any regularly commissioned notary public who holds a valid notarial commission in the State of Louisiana, including an attorney who is licensed to practice law and commissioned by the Secretary of State.


What are the requirements for remote online notarization?


How does remote online notarization actually work?

Assuming you are not using a commercial RON service, you can set up a web cam or FaceTime call with the individual requesting notarization. Be sure that you are properly recording the entire process and that you can see the individual. Once you have reasonably confirmed the individual’s identity, the individual can affix his or her signature to the document. Electronic signatures are generally permitted and given the same legal effect as handwritten signatures. If the individual is using an electronic signature, be sure that you are able to view the individual’s computer or device screen that the individual is using to affix his or her signature. This may preclude you from using a web cam or FaceTime conversation if the individual is using the same device to affix his or her electronic signature.

Once the individual has signed the document, he or she should send it to you, preferably by electronic means such as email. Once you have the signed document, you can affix your signature (either electronic or handwritten). Again, be sure that you are properly recording the process, including the act of signing and notarizing the document.

Don’t forget to include the normal information required in a notarized document, including: the full name(s) of the party or parties; your notary ID number (or your Louisiana bar roll number if you are an attorney); and your name.


What documents can be remotely notarized?


What documents cannot be remotely notarized?


Can a tangible copy of an electronic record be filed into the public records?

Yes. The governor’s proclamation states that a recorder shall not refuse to record a tangible copy of an electronic record on the ground that it does not bear the original signature of a person if a notary public certifies that it is an accurate copy of the electronic record.


[1] Amanda Farrell, The Latest States To Pass Remote Online Notarization Laws, PropLogix (Sept. 16, 2019), https://www.proplogix.com/blog/remote-online-notarization-a-brief-history-and-how-its-changing-real-estate-closings (last updated Feb. 20, 2020).