Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 7Q (“Order No. 7Q”) of March 30, 2020 (click here), the remote notarization provisions of Executive Order No. 7K were modified to address some of the issues and oversights therein. While the 10-year retention requirement for recordings remains, Order No. 7Q does incorporate the following new provisions: (i) dispenses with witness requirements for all signings, both remote and in-person (except with respect to a Last Will and Testament, which may be witnessed remotely under the supervision of a Commissioner of the Superior Court); (ii) mandates that all Town/City Clerks accept remotely notarized documents; and (iii) requires a one-page certification regarding the use of Remote Notarization be attached to all remotely notarized documents submitted for recording. Some title companies are also recommending that the certification (or a modified version thereof for in-person signings) be attached to all documents submitted for recording, whether executed in-person or remotely, to ensure recording by the Town/City Clerk.
Caution should be exercised in the use of Communication Technology to ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information is kept safe and secure at all times. The Signatory should take measures to cover or conceal any sensitive information present on such evidence of identity prior to furnishing to the Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court over Communication Technology, such as the Signatory’s driver’s license number or date of birth.
Prior to utilizing Remote Notarization, the Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court should check with their insurance carrier to ensure Remote Notarization is not excluded from coverage under their policy.
Below is a summary of what appear to be the steps required (as of the date hereof) for Remote Notarization:
- The Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court initiates an electronic meeting with the Signatory via Communication Technology* with recording capabilities (e.g. WebEx, Zoom or Skype)
- The Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court reviews the Signatory’s “satisfactory evidence of identity”** via video.
- The Signatory affirms his/her physical presence within the State of Connecticut (Remote Notarization may only be used for Signatories located within the State of Connecticut).
- The Signatory executes the document (the “Original”) and affirms the same as his/her “free act and deed”.
- On the same day, Signatory transmits a copy of the Original to the Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court via fax or electronic means.
- The Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court prints the copy received from the Signatory, complete/signs the Acknowledgment and transmits the same back to the Signatory (the “Copy”).
- The Signatory sends/delivers both the Copy and the Original to the Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court within thirty (30) days. It is worth noting that, in the instance of real estate closings involving financing, the Original may need to be returned within 24-48 hours to allow for recording and return of documents to the lender for purposes of funding and/or satisfying specific lender and/or escrow agent closing instructions.
- The Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court completes the acknowledgment on the Original as of the date of Signatory’s execution (only permitted if the Copy and Original are received within 30 days) and submits the same for recording to the Town/City Clerk with the one-page certification attached.
- The recording of the acknowledgement procedure is saved to the Notary Public’s or Commissioner of the Superior Court’s file and retained for a period of at least ten (10) years. On many Communication Technology programs, there is a tab or button to record the video communication.
*”Communication Technology” is defined in Order No. 7Q as an electronic device or process that allows the Notary Public or Commissioner of the Superior Court and a remotely located individual to communicate simultaneously by sight and sound.
**“Satisfactory evidence of identity”, as defined by C.G.S. Sec. 3-94a(10), means identification of an individual based on (A) 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, or (B) the oath or affirmation of a credible person who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual.
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Additional information and resources are available at the Carmody COVID-19 Resource Center. For guidance and advice on these issues and your particular situations and concerns, please contact one of our real estate attorneys. We will all get through this together. Be safe and stay healthy.