Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently suspended certain statutes that normally require an individual to appear before a notary public in person for real-estate instruments such as mortgages and deeds. The suspension allows, temporarily, appearances to take place via videoconferencing solutions such as zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc…
Notarizations under the temporarily revised rules must follow the below rules:
- The notary public must verify the identity of a person signing a document by using two-way video and audio conference technology at the time the signature is taken at the time the signature is taken.
- The notary public may (as with an in person notarization) verify identity by (1) personal knowledge of the signing person, (2) by reviewing the signing person’s remote presentation of a government-issued identification credential, including a passport or driver’s license, that contains the individual’s signature and a photograph of the person, or (3) by an introduction of the signing person by oath of a credible witness who personally knows both the signing person and the notary public.
- The signing person shall transmit by fax or electronic means such as email a legible copy of the signed document to the notary public, who may notarize the transmitted copy and then transmit the notarized copy back to the signing person by fax or electronic means, at which point the notarization is valid.
- During the two-way audio-video communication: (1) the notary public shall attest to being physically located in Texas; (2) the signing person shall attest to being physically located in Texas; (3) the signing person shall affirmatively state what documents are being signed; and (3) the signing person’s act of signing shall be close enough to the camera for the notary public to observe it clearly.
- A recording of the two-way audio-video communication of the notarial act shall be kept by the notary public for two years from the date of the notarial act.
- The signatory shall send the original signed documents by courier, U.S. Mail, or overnight carrier directly to the notary public for the notary public to sign and to affix the official stamp or seal.
- The official date and time of the notarization shall be the date and time when the notary public witnessed the signatory signing the documents during the two-way audio-video communication.
- The documents shall include, whether in a notarial certificate, a jurat, or an acknowledgement, language substantially similar to the following: “This notarization involved the use of two-way audio-video communication pursuant to the suspension granted by the Office of the Governor on April 27, 2020, under section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code.”
This suspension of these notarization rules will remain in effect until the earlier of May 30, 2020, or the termination of the March 13, 2020 Texas disaster declaration. Temporary regulations allowing for notarization of certain estate planning documents via videoconference remain in effect. You can find more information about those temporary orders here.
Virtus Law, PLLC continues to monitor developments in this (and other COVID-19 areas) and will continue to post relevant updates to this website.