Update on Colorado Remote Notary Law

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Remote notary law became effective in Colorado on December 31, 2020 thanks to Colorado SB20-96.  Many of us spent much of 2020 performing remote notarizations under the temporary authorization and rules suspending the in-person requirement for notarizations.  Approved Colorado Remote Notaries can now confidently provide remote notarizations as a service to our clients going forward.

Colorado remote notary law requires the use of real time audio-video communication so that the notary and signer(s) can simultaneously participate and witness the notarial act in real time.  Documents executed via remote notary technology will be signed electronically by both the notary and remotely located individual in separate locations.

The new law and rules do vary from the temporary rules in several ways, including the following:

  • A Colorado notary must be approved by the Colorado Secretary of State, after application and training, in order to act as a remote notary.
  • A Colorado Remote Notary must use an approved remote notary provider or vendor and both record and store the audio-visual transaction.
  • The Colorado Remote Notary must be located within the borders of Colorado at the time of signing; however, the signor can be located elsewhere. I have personally found this to be a wonderful service to our clients that may have trustees or beneficiaries residing out of state.

Estate planning practitioners should take specific note that wills and codicils are specific exceptions and cannot be remotely notarized at this time.  While this currently means that Wills must be executed in-person, our office has received communications from the Colorado Bar Association that has indicated that a draft of the Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act is planned to be introduced by the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws for passage in the State of Colorado in 2021.  We will bring updates on this blog on that new law when available.

For the full list of requirements, notaries should review Rule 5 of the Notary Public Program Rules.  Both the rules and an excellent FAQ are available on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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