(Original Article dated April 14, 2020)
UPDATE: By Executive Order 202.72 dated November 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo has further extended his prior orders permitting the use of audio-visual technology for notarization and witnessing, as provided below, through December 3, 2020. Specifically, the Governor stated, “I hereby continue the declaration of the State Disaster Emergency effective March 7, 2020, as set forth in Executive Order 202.” Executive Orders 202.13, 202.14, 202.18, 202.28, 202.38, 202.48, 202.55, 202.60, and 202.67 previously extended the expiration dates for the applicable Orders described below.
To assist notaries and the public, the New York Department of State has issued official guidelines (dated March 31, 2020) for implementing Governor Cuomo’s remote notarization order.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, certain states are adjusting rules by emergency executive order. In New York, executive orders have been issued to facilitate not only remote notarization, but now also remote witnessing.
By an order dated March 19, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo relaxed New York’s notary requirements to permit use of “audio-video technology” through April 18 under specialized rules.
The executive order provides that “[a]ny notarial act that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:
In addition, by an order dated April 7, 2020, Gov. Cuomo relaxed New York’s requirement for witnessing the execution of wills, trusts, powers of attorney that include statutory gift riders, health care proxies, and statutory appointments of agents to control disposition of remains under specialized rules to permit the use of audio-video technology through May 7, 2020, provided that the following conditions are met:
For more information regarding signing documents electronically and remote notarization and witnessing, see the alert “The COVID-19 Pandemic Raises the Importance of Understanding Whether and When Documents May Be Signed Electronically and Witnessed or Notarized Remotely.”