On July 2nd, 2018, the very first fully remote online mortgage closing occurred in the state of Texas following a rule change allowing notaries to certify closing documents using webcams. The age of “eClosings” is here.
How was it done? The interesting part of the story is that the notary or “closing agent” who certified the documents was physically located in Virginia. Laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia allow for notarial acts to be conducted online and 49 out of 50 states recognize out of state notarizations as admissible.
Notarize.com, based in Virginia, is blazing a path forward for the admissibility of remote notaries. In February of 2018, The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) adopted standards for online notarization that state:
- “Personal appearance” and “appears before the notary” mean that the principal and the notary public:
- are physically close enough to see, hear, communicate with, and give identification credentials to each other, or;
- interact through the use of audio- video communication as defined in addendum.
This is not a law, but the support of this national organization is catalyzing a domino effect of states changing laws to support remote notaries, Texas and Michigan being the most recent.
The long-term consequences of how this translates to the needs of litigators represent a key paradigm shift toward a fully remote deposition that will not require a notary to physically swear in a witness or physical appearance for the signing of an affidavit of oath.
We’re closing in fast on the age of the Remote Deposition Officer.