BOSTON – On Thursday, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed legislation to authorize notary publics to perform notary actions using video conferencing during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“This bill maintains the integrity of the notarization process, adheres to public health guidelines, and allows families to continue important and personal business,” said Senator O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “Now, the public will be able to properly carry out estate plans, powers of attorney, and more without issue. I appreciate the work of my colleagues in the House and Senate for moving this forward.”
The legislation requires authorized notary publics to use electronic video conferencing for documents requiring notarization, including those related to a mortgage or other conveyance of title to real estate, will, nomination of guardian or conservator, caregiver authorization affidavit, trust, durable power of attorney, or health care proxy.
The legislation includes the following provisions, which will be in place until three business days after termination of the March 10, 2020 declaration of a State of Emergency:
- Authorizes a notary public appointed under the laws of the Commonwealth to perform an acknowledgement, affirmation or other notarial act using video conferencing in real time;
- Makes valid notarial acts using video conferencing when the notary public and each principal are physically located within the Commonwealth as well as other provisions;
- Requires notaries to record the video conference and retain a copy of the conference; and related documentation for 10 years.
The bill, which is the latest action by the Legislature to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects on Massachusetts, has advanced to the Governor’s desk.
Senator Patrick O’Connor represents the Plymouth and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, and Weymouth. Sen. O’Connor and his staff may be reached at the State House via telephone at 617-722-1646 or by email at Patrick.O’[email protected].