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IA House File 397


State: Iowa
Signed: June 01, 2023

Effective: July 01, 2023
Chapter: 133

House File amends Iowa’s remote notarization statutes and clarifies matters related to the execution of last wills and codicils during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Amends Iowa Code Sections 9B.14A and 633.279.


Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals

  1. Clarifies that the communication technology the Notary intends to use to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals must conform to the Secretary of State's standards.
  2. Clarifies if the Notary elects to use identity proofing, the identity proofing must conform to the Secretary of State's standards.

Remote Last Wills and Codicils

  1. Provides that any last will or codicil executed using the remote signing procedures permitted under the proclamation of disaster emergency of the Governor issued April 2, 2020, and expired February 15, 2022, shall be deemed to satisfy the presence requirements of Iowa Code 633.279 if the will or codicil was executed during the effective period of the proclamation of disaster emergency.
  2. Defines “presence” to mean any manner, physical or electronic, in which the witness and testator can see and hear the acts of each other in real time.
  3. Applies the provisions related to last wills and codicils retroactively to last wills and codicils executed on or after April 2, 2020.


House File 397 makes two amendments to Iowa’s statutes related to Notaries performing remote notarial acts. First, it clarifies that the communication technology the Notary intends to use must conform to the Secretary of State’s standards, if the Secretary has established standards. Second, if the Notary chooses to use identity proofing to identify a remotely located individual, the identity proofing also must conform to the Secretary’s standards. Not all remote notarial acts will use identity proofing. If the Notary personally knows the remotely located principal or uses a credible witness the Notary knows to identify the remotely located principal, identity proofing will not be used. It would be used, however, if a credible witness is unknown to the Notary and is appearing before the Notary remotely along with the principal.

The second change in House File 397 is related to the execution of remote last wills and codicils (changes to last wills) executed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new provisions state that any remote wills or codicils executed during the COVID-19 public health emergency satisfy the “presence” requirement, which is defined to include both physical and electronic presence. When executing a will, a testator and witnesses can make the will self-proving by executing affidavits, which must be notarized. Any remote self-proving wills executed during the pandemic would thus be considered to have satisfied the presence requirement.

Read House File 397.