March 24, 2020
Connecticut’s Governor Lamont Issues Executive Order Enabling Use of Remote Notarization

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state leaders and title professionals 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 Executive Order 7K, Connecticut’s Governor, Ned Lamont, authorized the use of communication technology to conduct a notarization, under the following conditions:

  • The communication technology must allow the signer and the notary to communicate simultaneously by sight and sound;
  • The signer must present satisfactory evidence of identity, unless personally known to the notary, in the form of:
  • at least two current documents, one issued by a federal or state government and containing the individual's signature and either a photograph or physical description, and the other by an institution, business entity or state government or the federal government and containing at least the individual's signature, both of which must be presented while connected to the communication technology, or
  • oath or affirmation of a credible person who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual;
  • The notary must record the notarial act and retain a copy of the recording for ten (10) years;
  • The signer must affirm that he or she is in Connecticut at the time of execution; and
  • The signer must send the notary the signed documents either by fax or electronic means 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.

The Order clarifies that only attorneys authorized to practice law in the State of Connecticut may remotely conduct a real estate closing pursuant to Public Act 19-88 or administer a self-proving affidavit to a Last Will and Testament pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 45a-285.

This Order does not address the requirements for attestation of witnesses to the execution of conveyances of land under Connecticut General Statutes § 47-5. As such, witnesses must attest to such conveyances under this Order.

The Order is effective immediately and is effective through June 23, 2020, unless modified by the Governor.

Aside from actions taken by state governments to enact remote notarization, there has also been a strong push for such legislation at the federal level. 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.” A companion bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA) on March 23, 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 is committed to helping its agents through this uncertain time and will be providing further guidance detailing how agents can comply with this Executive Order in the coming days. Should you have any questions about this Order, please contact Ashley Fischer, CATIC’s Compliance Counsel, or Zach Kammerdeiner, CATIC’s Senior Business and Compliance Strategist. We look forward to continuing to serve you and your clients throughout this crisis and beyond.

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