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Remote Notary Revisited

Last year in response to the COVID crisis, first New York and then New Jersey temporarily allowed for the execution of documents that must be signed before a notary to be done remotely.  Legal documents such as powers of attorneys and wills could now be signed with a notary looking on via video as long as certain requirements were met such as keeping a recording of the signing.

As social distancing and lockdowns became the new normal during the pandemic, relaxing the in person signing requirements was of critical importance in allowing people without important documents in place before the pandemic to execute them and carry on important aspects of their lives or allow designated fiduciaries to step in for them when needed.

The temporary change was made by the governor of each state by executive order.  Last month, however, Governor Cuomo ended New York’s State of Emergency which also ended the remote notary provisions.  The assumption was that Governor Murphy would do the same in New Jersey.

So far that has not happened.  While Governor Murphy has lifted New Jersey’s public health emergency, the State of Emergency remains in effect and, at least for now, New Jersey continues to allow remote notarization of documents.  There has also been some talk about making this change permanent but to date there has been no bill introduced as yet to allow for that. Stay tuned.