Agent Alert
New York
March 21, 2020
NY Executive Order Enables Use of Remote Notarization

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state leaders are looking for a solution to enable real estate transactions to continue to close. Such solutions include emergency rules and executive orders to permit the use of remote notarization in the state. Under one such executive order, New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, authorized the use of audio-video technology to conduct a notarization, under the following conditions:

  1. The signer must present a copy of a valid photo ID to the notary during the video call, unless the signer is known to the notary;
  2. The audio-video technology must allow the signer and the notary to have a direct interaction in real time. A notary could not rely on a pre-recorded video of a signer executing the document;
  3. The signer must affirm that he or she is in New York at the time of execution; and
  4. The signer must send the notary the signed documents either by fax or email on the same day the documents were signed.

If the above conditions are met, the notary may notarize the documents and transmit them back to the signer for use. The notary may also notarize the original document as of the date of execution if the notary receives the original document along with the executed electronic version within thirty (30) days of initial execution. This Executive Order expires April 18, 2020 unless extended by the Governor.  

There has been a strong push for remote notarization legislation at the federal level as well. On March 19, 2020, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced S. 3533, the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2020.” This federal proposal would allow notaries in every state to remotely notarize documents in accordance with minimum standards set forth in the bill. Those minimum standards require the use of tamper-evident technology and multifactor authentication to verify the identity of the signer.

It is clear that we will need to adjust our business practices to allow real estate transactions to continue during this unprecedented time. However, it is imperative that we continue to employ safe and trusted methods of executing documents, particularly those affecting real estate title. CATIC Title is committed to helping its agents through this uncertain time. Should you have any questions about how to comply with the New York Executive Order, please contact Steve Maggiola , CATIC Title’s Senior Vice President and Counsel, or Bob Picone , CATIC Title’s New York State Manager. We look forward to continuing to serve you and your clients throughout this crisis and beyond.

Please continue to check out our  dedicated webpage  for COVID-19 information and guidance, on a regular basis. We will be updating the material as we learn of new developments.