On Monday, Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker signed off on a new coronavirus rule that lets notaries witness signatures over video conferencing. According to the novel law, notary publics are allowed to continue their notary duties through video communication under certain circumstances. This includes all parties providing identification to prove their identity. These measures will be in place until three days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. The Massachusetts rule allows notary publics to continue serving as witnesses for documents related to wills, mortgages, real estate title transfers, caregiver authorization affidavits and other matters.
Parties must affirm over the video conferencing platform that they are physically present in the state of Massachusetts and must indicate if any other individuals are present in the room with them during the conference. If so, the party must make that person visible to the notary public. To continue their duties as usual, notary publics must include a certificate with their work, explaining the documents they possessed were notarized.
“Allowing for virtual notarization will mean important legal transactions can continue unimpeded, which is good for our economy and the commonwealth as a whole,” Senate Ways and Means Committee President Karen Spilka, declared last week following the bill’s launch. Per the bill, these temporary provisions apply only for parties who are located in Massachusetts.
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