COVID-19: Massachusetts Allows Remote Notarization

On April 27, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an emergency measure to authorize Massachusetts notaries public to use real-time electronic video conferencing to perform “an acknowledgement, affirmation or other notarial act” during the COVID-19 crisis. See: An Act Providing For Virtual Notarization To Address Challenges Related to COVID-19.

The person signing the document and witnesses (hereafter collectively “principal”) and notary public need not be in each other’s physical presence; however in addition to the audio and video recording (retained for 10 years):

  • The notary public must observe each principal’s execution of a document
  • The notary public and each principal must be physically located in Massachusetts
  • The principal must deliver the executed document to the notary public
  • With respect to any document “involving a mortgage or other conveyance of title to real estate,” the notary public and each principal are both required to engage in a second video conference during which each principal verifies that the document received by the notary public is the same document executed during the initial video conference
  • The principal must make disclosure of any person present in the room and make that person viewable to the notary public
  • The notary public must provide an affidavit that must be retained for 10 years

A number of other conditions must be met and are set forth in the Act. The notary public may notarize the document when received (delivered) if all conditions are met.

The remote notarization will end three business days after termination of the March 10, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency.

Pierce Atwood is equipped to use the necessary technology and can assist clients with determining their technology needs.