Virtual notarization now authorized in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a new law authorizing virtual notarization via videoconference.

The law authorizes notary publics who are Massachusetts licensed attorneys or paralegals working under the direct supervision of a Massachusetts licensed attorney to notarize documents that are signed via videoconference.

The notary public must be able to see the individual execute the document, both the notary public and signing individuals must be physically located in the commonwealth and the individual must swear and affirm under the penalties of perjury that they are located in the commonwealth; and each signer must provide the notary public with satisfactory evidence of their identity. If the proof of identity is a government document, the individual must provide the notary public with a front and back copy of such document either with the original document or by electronic means. For documents related to real estate transactions, if the individual is using a government document as proof of identity, they must also show a second form of identification such as a utility bill, debit or credit card. The individual must also disclose to the notary anyone else present in the room with them and enable the notary to see that person. Once the document is signed, the individual must have the document delivered to the notary public.

If the document involves title to real estate, when the notary receives the signed document, there must be a second video conference during which each signing individual confirms to the notary public that the document is the one that they previously signed.

Upon completion of these steps, the notary public may affix their stamp and signature to the executed document, whereupon the notarial act shall be completed. All documents executed, acknowledged or notarized under this act, shall be properly executed, acknowledged and notarized documents for all legal purposes in the commonwealth.

The law contains an automatic repeal set to take effect 3 business days after the termination of the Governor’s March 10, 2020 emergency declaration.