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Law

DE Senate Bill 157

Notary Law Update: DE Senate Bill 157

State: Delaware

Summary:

Senate Bill 157 authorizes a personal power of attorney for matters related to motor vehicle registration to be signed in the presence of a notarial officer or contain an electronic signature acceptable to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Signed:  September 15, 2021

Effective:  September 15, 2021

Chapter: 149

Affects:

Adds Sections 3201 through 3217 to Part II, Title 21 of the Delaware Code.

Changes:
  1. Requires a power of attorney related to the motor vehicle business to be signed by the principal or by another person subscribing the principal's name in the principal's presence and at the principal's express direction.
  2. Authorizes a power of attorney related to the motor vehicle business to be signed in the presence of a notarial officer or contain an electronic signature acceptable to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  3. Defines “electronic signature” to mean the execution of the document by the identified person after appropriate verification of identity of the person executing the document using a verification system acceptable to the Department.
Analysis:

It appears that Senate Bill 157 creates an alternative signing process to the execution of powers of attorney requiring notarization for matters related to motor vehicle matters. The original bill synopsis read as follows: “Delaware's Power of Attorney statute requires a notary to verify the signature on a document. Many financial institutions have difficulty having the customer appear before a notary for that notarization. There are several electronic signature verification processes that are available to businesses. This bill would create a Power of Attorney for motor vehicle business that would allow for electronic signature verification if the verification system is acceptable to the Department. This bill will enable businesses of all sizes to accelerate document turnaround time and reduce costs, while ensuring document security and privacy.”

Senate Bill 157 could be construed to dispense with the notarization requirement by using an electronic signature that is not notarized, but it is also possible that Senate Bill 157 could authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt an electronic notarization signature process that doesn’t require an appearance before a Notary. Remote notarization is a possibility, although Delaware is one of the few states yet to enact a broad remote notarization bill.

Read the text of Senate Bill 157.

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