More people realize that they don’t need to leave their houses to have a document notarized. It has become more viable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic’s social distancing procedures and shelter-in-place directives. In reality, more than half of our country’s states have abandoned the conventional in-person notarization requirement and now permit — or will soon permit — remote internet notarizations (RONs).
Continue reading to discover what a RON is, its services, how online notarizations operate, and the advantages of remote notarization over traditional notarization techniques.
What is Remote Online Notarization (RON)?
A RON, as the name implies, involves all the necessary notarial acts done remotely through the internet using a shared web conferencing platform. Online notary services offer the technology (through a live audio-video call), allowing the signer and notary to see, hear, and communicate during the procedure.
Instead of being physically present in the same room, a signer personally appears before the notary at the moment of the notarization utilizing audio-visual technology through the internet. Webcam notarization, online notarization, and virtual notarization are all terms for remote online notarization.
What Kinds of Documents Need to Be Notarized?
Several papers must be notarized to be legally binding. A final will and testament is only one example among many. Trusts, estates, powers of attorney, and most commercial loan contracts are further examples.
What Exactly is a Remote Online Notary?
A notary public helps the public by serving as an unbiased witness to document signings. A notary public is responsible for validating each signer’s identity, confirming their willingness and mental ability to sign the document, and ensuring that the signer understands the nature and importance of the document being notarized. The most crucial stage in ensuring that a document is appropriately notarised has traditionally been forcing the signer(s) to come face-to-face before the notary public so that the notary may witness the numerous signatures on the document. However, the usage of RONs has grown in popularity and demand in recent years.
The fact that neither the signing party nor the notary public must leave the comfort of their respective homes or offices to have a document notarized is a clear advantage of employing RONs. In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, RONs are expected to acquire traction. Although a notary public can authenticate papers, they cannot give legal advice or comment on the wisdom of signing (or not signing) a document; only a lawyer, accountant, or other qualified professional should be engaged in such talks.
Which states permit RON?
RONs are not permitted in every jurisdiction in the United States. Presently, 23 states have authorized notaries to perform notarizations remotely via the internet using audio-visual technology. 17 of the 23 states have laws in effect as of January 1, 2020. Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia have fully implemented their remote notarization procedures. Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Arizona, Nebraska, and Washington are the six states that expect to be fully implemented between May 1, 2020, and October 1, 2020.
Where To Find Online Notary Services
Perform a quick web search to locate a notary public and commissioner of oath office in your region. Many of these offices will very certainly provide remote services.
However, with the expanding availability of online notaries, you are no longer confined to the services available in your location. Ensure that the notarization procedures adhere to your state’s rules and criteria.
Examine the following services to find which one works best for you:
How To Become An Online Notary?
To become an online notary, you must first fulfill the standard qualifications established by your secretary of state. You must generally be a resident, at least 18 years old, and have never been convicted of a criminal offense.
If you match the prerequisites, complete the procedures below to become an online notary:
- Fill out an application for a notary commission and register to do remote internet notarizations. State application costs may be required.
- Some states require RON training and passing a test. You may also need a surety bond or errors and omissions insurance.
- Purchase the necessary items (such as an electronic seal and digital certificate).
- Sign up for an online notary platform to connect with signers throughout the country and make money from the comfort of your home.
Because notaries have significant legal authority, your state may demand a bond or insurance. Because notary errors can cause substantial harm to a signer, bonds and insurance can protect all parties involved (i.e., the notary, the state, and the signer).
Remote online notarizations are becoming more common, particularly in light of the significant push borne of necessity during the COVID-19 era. Concerns have been raised about cybersecurity, encryption, and the preservation of sensitive electronic documents, as well as whether some identity authentication procedures, such as when a notary checks a photo ID via a webcam, are enough.
In the end, remote internet notarizations are relatively new in many jurisdictions, and interim regulations developed fast to respond to emergencies might leave gaps and raise issues. Some attorneys are skeptical of them and recommend re-executing (re-signing and re-notarizing) legal papers in traditional methods after the pandemic has passed. However, it is apparent that online notarizations are making significant advances and are rapidly becoming more ingrained in our daily lives.