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Law

MD Guidance on Remote Notarizations (3/30/20)

Notary Law Update: MD Guidance on Remote Notarizations (3/30/20)

State: Maryland

Summary:

Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith has issued official guidance to Maryland Notaries on how to understand and perform temporary remote notarizations as authorized under Governor's Hogan's Executive Order of March 30, 2020.

Signed:  March 31, 2020

Effective:  March 31, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

All Maryland Notaries Public.

Changes:
  1. Emphasizes that the Governor’s Order is a temporary waiver of the in-person requirement, which is a significant change to notarization practice in Maryland.
  2. Clarifies that the Governor’s Order requires Notaries to use a communications technology vendor designed for the purpose of facilitating remote notarizations and that provides the ability to both see and hear a remotely located individual, as opposed to services that primarily offer video-conferencing ability, and further clarifies that Skype or FaceTime do not meet the technology requirements.
  3. Clarifies it is the Notary’s responsibility to choose the vendor of technology.
  4. Clarifies that the Secretary of State does not recommend or endorse a particular communication technology vendor.
  5. Clarifies that Notaries may contact the National Notary Association, the Maryland Bankers Association, Maryland Realtors Association and the Maryland Land Title Association for a list of communication technology providers but also lists DocVerify, LenderClose, Notarize, NotaryCam, Pavaso, Safedocs, SIGNiX and World Wide Notary as technology vendors.
  6. Clarifies that the notification form for notifying the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals may be found at:  https://sos.maryland.gov/Notary/Pages/default.aspx and that the form must be submitted via email to: remotenotary.sos@maryland.gov.
  7. Clarifies that Maryland Notaries can still perform notarial acts in person during the state of emergency but should use their best judgment on whether the notarial act is considered essential and abide by social distancing, Centers of Disease Control and Maryland Department of Health guidance in the conduct of any essential notarial services.
  8. Clarifies that Notaries may only charge $4 for a remote notarization.
Analysis:

With the issuance of Governor Hogan’s executive Order on March 30, 2020, that Maryland Notaries may temporarily perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals, the Maryland Secretary of State has issued guidance to Maryland Notaries who may want to start performing these notarizations. Information on providing the required notification to the Secretary of State that the Notary will be performing these remote notarizations is provided, including a link to the actual form itself. It is important that Notaries complete and email this form to the Secretary and identify the technology provider the Notary will use before performing remote notarizations. The guidance recognizes that remote notarizations present a marked departure from the way notarizations have been performed in Maryland and urges Notaries to responsibly follow all existing Notary laws, including the amount of the fee that may be charged, in performing remote notarizations.

To read the guidance, click Download PDF.

Note: This guidance was revised on April 21, 2020.

Download PDF

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