Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Joseph McGonagle recently announced that the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation to authorize notary publics to perform notary actions using video conferencing during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“My office heard from many constituents on this issue of remote notarization, and I am pleased that my colleagues in the Legislature and I were able to enact this change,” said Senator DiDomenico. “Industries across our Commonwealth are having to quickly adapt to these unprecedented times, and the Legislature is doing everything we can to identify these needs and make the necessary changes. Public health and safety must remain top priority, and this will help minimize risk for many people in need of this critical service and ease the burden on a crucial part of our economy.”
Said McGonagle, “With so much technology at our disposal, it only makes sense that we take advantage of it to maintain normal life routines while keeping public health and safety at the forefront of our priorities. As this pandemic is ongoing, we must continue to find ways to modify work practices and push forward. Remote notarization will take the pressure off many who are dealing with major decisions during this time. I think leadership, especially Speaker DeLeo and Chair Michlewitz, have done a great job identifying and addressing the needs of the Commonwealth.”
The legislation applies requirements for authorized notary publics to use electronic video conferencing for documents requiring notarization including those related to a mortgage or other conveyance of title to real estate, will, nomination of guardian or conservator, caregiver authorization affidavit, trust, durable power of attorney, or health care proxy.
The legislation includes the following provisions, which will be in place until three business days after termination of the March 10, 2020 declaration of a State of Emergency:
•Authorizes a notary public appointed under the laws of the Commonwealth to perform an acknowledgement, affirmation or other notarial act using video conferencing in real time;
•Makes valid notarial acts using video conferencing when the notary public and each principal are physically located within the Commonwealth as well as other provisions;
•Requires notaries to record the video conference and retain a copy of the conference; and related documentation for 10 years.
The bill, which is the latest action by the Legislature to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects on Massachusetts, has been sent to the Governor’s desk.