All about electronic notarization and online signing services
Electronic notarization allows a notary public to utilize electronic signatures to sign documents and an electronic seal to certify that it was notarized. These notary publics are referred to as an e-notary. This is not a remote notary. The legal definitions of an e-notary are different and the parties involved are required to be physically present.
This has become a fast growing and convenient way for documents to get notarized. Accelerated by COVID a lot of local governments have embraced this platform. However, not all states allow this type of notarization. There are even less states that allow for remote online notarizations to take place. As more states are passing laws authorizing these types of notarizations the practice is becoming more widespread.
With electronic notarization all parties have to be in the same room. However, there is no paper that needs to exchange hands. Instead, everything is completed digitally. The process is secure and documents can not be tampered with. There are a number of systems that safeguard this specific technology. One of the most common is DocVerify.
There are many platforms that provide the tools a notary needs to enable the electronic notarizations and/or remote online notarizations to their clients. A remote online notarization is able to use video conferencing for those that are not able to be present. The option for paper documents or digital documents is available as well.
Both types of notaries are required to complete the same responsibilities as a standard commissioned notary public. The difference is in the way the notarization process is carried out and their specific training in order to conduct the notary service.
If you would benefit from the services of an e-notary or remote notary you need to first determine if it is available in your state by contacting your local secretary of the state department. Typically, once you have found a notary you will have access to upload documents electronically via an email link you will receive from the notary. The notary will confirm your identity, review the documents and answer your questions.
On the day of your appointment, you will meet with the notary (a remote notary will conduct a video conference). Once your appointment is completed you should be able to download your notarized documents.
Docusign has some great tools with exploring.
If electronic notary or remote online notarization is available in your state you can locate an e-notary or remote notary either by going directly to online signing services (simply search electronic notarization). Or you can search online for the specific notary type you are in need of. Your town clerk may also be able to help you. What you should be looking for is your comfort level with the technology they will be using,
if you are using a remote online notary, you need access to a camera, ask if you are using an app and if so, are you comfortable with that on your personal cell phone. Be sure to check out our article on the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility, it will be helpful to make sure you are doing your due diligence for compliance.
Ask for references and search their license status with the state. Make sure that you are working with a trained notary specific to the notary service they are providing. They are not standard commissioned notaries and are required to obtain specific training by their state.
Both of these types of electronic notarizations are convenient and the process is straightforward. Having them available in your state you will find them to be a very easy way to get your documents notarized!