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Recently, the House of Representatives passed the SECURE Notarization Act of 2022 (HR 3962). Legislation that creates federal minimum standards to allow notaries in all states to conduct online notarization transactions remotely. Highlights of the bill include the following:
- Allows the notary public mandated under state law to remotely authenticate electronic records and perform authentications for individuals located remotely.
- Provides the technical requirements for such notarizations, including the creation and preservation of video and audio recordings and the use of communication technologies (i.e. video chat).
- Requires U.S. courts and states to recognize notarizations, including remote notarizations of electronic records and notarizations of remotely located individuals, that occur or affect interstate commerce and are performed by a notary public appointed under laws of other states.
- Allows a notary public to remotely authenticate electronic records involving a person outside the United States, subject to certain requirements.
The legislation will now be considered by the Senate, where complementary legislation (S.1625) has been introduced by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
Put into practice : At the start of 2020, only 16 states allowed RON. As of August 1, 2022, 40 states already allow RON permanently or have passed legislation that will allow RON permanently before the temporary authorization expires. In addition, five states granted temporary authorization. The five states that currently do not allow remote online notarization, either permanently or temporarily, include California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Passing federal legislation would extend RON to all 50 states.
Although concerns have been raised about the potential for increased fraud via remote notarization, many businesses operating in states that have allowed RON have experienced expedited routine banking and financial transactions and real estate closings, as they offer a greater flexibility in times and places to recognize documents.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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