Governor Wolf Signs Act 97 into Law Permanently Enabling Remote Notarizations in Pennsylvania

October 30, 2020 | By Michael A. Thom

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 2370 (the “Act”) into law, which, among other things, expands upon the remote notarization capabilities that were temporarily enacted by Senate Bill 841 to promote social distancing measures at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Act 97 requires the Department of State to immediately authorize licensed notaries to conduct notarial acts without demanding the physical presence of a remotely located individual, if: (i) the notary gives notice to the Department of State prior to completing its initial remote notary act; and (ii) the notary uses a Department of State approved communication and identity proofing technology. Further, Act 97 instructs the Department of State to promulgate regulations for the performance of a remote notary act. Unlike Senate Bill 841, Act 97 does not include a sunshine date restricting a remote notary’s ability to conduct remote notarizations sixty (60) days after the end of the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

A notary may conduct remote notarial acts where: (a) (i) the notary has personal knowledge of the identity of the customer, (ii) the notary has satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located customer by oath or affirmation from a credible witness appearing in front of the notary, or (iii) the notary is able to reasonably identify the customer by at least two (2) different types of identity proofing processes or services; and (b) the notary is able to reasonably identify the record which he or she is notarizing. Notaries conducting remote notarial acts will need to create and retain an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act, which captures all interactions between the notary public and the remotely located individual. Any remote notarial act performed by a notary will need to contain a statement that the notarial act involved the use of communication technology. If you are interested in becoming a remote notary it is strongly recommended you contact one of our attorneys before commencing any remote notarization acts to ensure you are complying with all applicable rules and regulations.

Please note our office has a Department of State authorized remote notary who is licensed and ready to assist with any remote notary needs you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Michael Thom in our office at 215-665-3001 or Michael.thom@obermayer.com if you have any questions on how the enactment of this legislation may help you or if you are in need of remote notary services. We stand ready to assist.


This alert is intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have. We are fully operational during this pandemic and stand ready to assist as you navigate this ongoing and developing COVID-19 situation. 

About the Authors

Michael A. Thom

Associate

Mike is an attorney in Obermayer’s Business & Finance Department. He has a transactional practice focusing on banking (public and private financing) and real estate matters, as well as corporate formation and...

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