Massachusetts Virtual Notarization Act Extension
Virtual notary services will continue in Bay State until December 15, after the virtual notarization law was extended last week.
Approved on April 23, 2020, chapter 71 of the laws of 2020 “A law providing for virtual notarization to meet the challenges of COVID-19”Gave Massachusetts residents the ability to use their electronic devices to virtually meet with a notary to sign documents. The deed states that the client and witnesses must be physically located as is during the video conference and must sign the documents by hand in ink. The law was originally scheduled to expire on June 15.
Earlier this month, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors urged lawmakers to find a more permanent solution to the temporary measure adopted last year in response to the pandemic. And they are not alone.
Boston fintech company Stavvy’s co-founder Kosta Ligris has been following the progress of the state’s remote online notarization law closely and agrees.
“I think this is an opportunity for Massachusetts to pass a permanent remote notarization law,” he said. “With lenders, consumers and other stakeholders looking for ways to save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency, remote online notarizations are a logical next step. We are in a period of transformation, and there is no better time for Massachusetts to modernize the status of the notary. “
The pandemic has highlighted the need for more remote and virtual features. Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors said it had the technology to handle things like remote digital real estate closures, laws and business practices still have some catching up to do. While the use of electronic signatures and electronic records in real estate transactions has been widely adopted over the past year, the use of remote online notarization has been slower to spread.
“Although electronic signatures have become common in real estate transactions, there is a serious void in permanent remote online notarization in many key states,” Ligris told the Boston agent. “Since notarization is an essential and required feature for certain legal and financial transactions, such as real estate fences and mortgages, permanent enabling laws that enact remote online notarization are needed to move these transactions completely online. . “
Although the act was born out of necessity, it was not an easy process.
“One of the main problems with the law was that Massachusetts did not allow electronic signatures of documents and that transactions always had to be done in wet ink,” he said. “It just took the requirement in person and substituting live audio / video sessions. The deed also requires a second video session in which the notary confirms that the signed wet documents they received are in fact those signed by the signer.