So in these interesting times of the COVID-19 (C-19) outbreak, you’re being responsible, doing your part to socially distance, staying at home, with bank lobbies and other offices closed, but you need a document notarized, or you’re a notary and have someone who needs a document notarized, but you can’t get to them, or they to you, for you to witness the execution. What to do…
Fortunately, in 2019, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly adopted a new law allowing for notarial acts for remotely located individuals, which is found in Section 44-06.1-13.1 of the Century Code. The new law, which went into effect August 1, 2019, permits notaries to perform “Remote Online Notarization,” or “RON” using technologies that provide for someone to execute a document outside of the presence of the notary, but that ensure the identity of the signing party is verifiable by the notary.
Our office presently has two Notaries Public, and is in the process of reviewing RON technology options from existing and new vendors for implementation so we may provide these services to our clients and ensure seamless continuity of our services and practice in these challenging times. We will be sure to provide an update through our website, as well as our social media profiles, to let our clients know when we’re able to notarize documents remotely.
The key part, under North Dakota law, is that “an audiovisual recording of the performance of the notarial act” must be created and retained for ten years. The Secretary of State has the authority to create and implement specific administrative rules concerning RON, but none have been enacted at the present time. However, they have issued guidance through e-mail, as well as on their website, for notaries who are looking to provide RON services.
The nice thing is this is a uniform law, meaning there are other states which already have it, or a very similar provision, in place, and it provides for reciprocity. Currently, RON is fully implemented and authorized in 13 states, including Minnesota, Montana, Texas, and Oklahoma. South Dakota has also fully implemented and authorized RON, but there are some limitations. There are also 10 states in which RON implementation in pending, and set to go into effect in 2020. Wisconsin is currently permitting RON under special emergency rules, and full implementation is set to be effective on May 1, 2020. Our clients in Arizona and Washington will have to wait until July 1 and October 1, respectively, for the law to go into effect – however, we suspect that with the current C-19 pandemic, RON implementation will continue to grow and, likely may be the “way of the future” for quick, remote notarization. The National Notary Association has additional information on RON and its availability outside of North Dakota.
If you have any questions about getting a document notarized, whether traditionally or through RON, please contact us by e-mail or phone and we’ll be glad to assist.