By: John Suwatson
On April 15, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed bill A-3903 into law. The new law allows for New Jersey notaries (or an officer authorized to take oaths, affirmations, and affidavits, or to take acknowledgements) to notarize documents virtually using audio-video technology, during the time of this public health emergency (as declared by the Governor in Executive Order 103 of 2020). This new law is designed to assist in maintaining business momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for those in real estate. According to the new law, a New Jersey notary could notarize a document if the New Jersey notary:
(i) has personal knowledge of the identity of the individual; has satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing before the New Jersey notary; or, has obtained satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by using at least two different types of identity proofing;
(ii) is able reasonably to confirm that a record before the New Jersey notary as the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the remotely located individual executed a signature; and
(iii) maintains an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act (unless a different period is required by rule adopted, the recording must be retained for a period of at least 10 years after the recording is made).
There are certain exclusions and remote notarization does not apply to a record governed by: (i) Uniform Commercial Code, N.J.S.12A:1-101 et seq., other than N.J.S.12A:1-107, N.J.S.12A:1-206, the provisions of the "Uniform Commercial Code - Sales," chapter 2 of Title 12A of the New Jersey Statutes, and the provisions of the "Uniform Commercial Code - Leases," chapter 2A of Title 12A of the New Jersey Statutes; or (ii) a statute, regulation or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce or other matters of family law.
New York has previously authorized temporary remote notarization through New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.7.