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Executive Order

MO Governor Executive Order 20-14 (2020)

Notary Law Update: MO Governor Executive Order 20-14 (2020)

State: Missouri

Summary:
Missouri Governor Parson issues a new executive order allowing remote notarization of estate planning documents.

Signed:  September 03, 2020

Effective:  September 03, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:
All Missouri Notaries Public.

Changes:
  1. Temporarily suspends the requirement that a testator, settlor, principal, witness, Notary or other person physically appear for the effective execution of any estate planning document such as a will, trust or power of attorney, or a self-proving affidavit of a will.
  2. Provides the following conditions must be satisfied for the physical presence requirement to be suspended or waived: (a) The signor affirmatively represents that he or she is physically located in Missouri. (b) The Notary is physically located in Missouri and state the county they are physically in for the jurisdiction on the acknowledgment. (c) The Notary identifies the signors to their satisfaction and current law. (d) Any person whose signature is required appears via using video conference software where live, interactive audio-visual communication between the principal, Notary, and other necessary person which allows for observation, direct interaction, and communication at the time of signing. (e) The Notary records in their journal the exact time and means used to perform the notarial act along with all other required information, except for having the signor physically sign the Notary's journal.
  3. Clarifies that the fees allowed for notarization under the executive order are to be the same as those allowed for other notarial acts, except a fee charged for the use of a remote online Notary platform or service shall not be considered a fee for a notarial act pursuant to RSMo 486.685.
  4. Provides that any notarial act in compliance with the executive order has the same force, effect, and validity as any other notarial act performed in compliance with Missouri law, and may be relied upon to the same extent as any other notarial act under Missouri law.
  5. Clarifies that the Secretary of State retains the powers provided to him under the law to investigate and adjudicate any Notary complaint related to the methods of notarization under the executive order.
  6. Clarifies that if the document needs to be presented in a paper medium, it satisfies the requirements of being an original document, and prima facie evidence, if all three of the following steps are taken by the Notary: (a) The Notary prints the document and affixes an attestation stating that it is a true and correct copy of the electronic document, (b) The Notary states in the certificate that it was performed pursuant to Executive Order 20-14, and (c) The Notary signs and affixes their rubber stamp Notary seal.
Analysis:

Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Parson issued an executive order that allowed any notarial act to be performed as a remote notarization. That order expired on August 28, 2020, when Missouri’s new Notary and remote online notarization laws took effect. Coming just days later, the Governor has issued a more limited order that applies specifically to estate planning documents. The order allows any Notary to perform a remote notarization on an estate planning document. The most common documents to which this order applies are trusts, powers of attorney, and self-proving affidavits to a last will. The order envisions these documents will be signed and notarized in electronic form, because there is a specific provision in the order which allows the Notary to “paper out” the electronic document if the Notary takes three steps: first, the Notary prints the document and attaches a notarial certificate state it is a true and correct copy of the electronic document. Second, the Notary writes on the certificate the notarial act was performed pursuant to Executive Order 20-14. Third, the Notary sign the certificate with their handwritten signature and affixes an impression of their rubber stamp Notary seal.

Executive Order 20-14 is effective through December 30, 2020.

Read the Executive Order.

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