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Law

NH House Bill 1249

Notary Law Update: NH House Bill 1249

State: New Hampshire

Summary:

House Bill 1249 temporarily allows remote notarization of paper estate planning documents during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Signed:  July 17, 2020

Effective:  July 17, 2020

Chapter: 17

Affects:

Amends Sections 456-B:2 and 551:2 of the Revised Statutes Annotated of New Hampshire.

Changes:
  1. Temporarily suspends the personal appearance requirement for notarizing wills, trusts and powers of attorney, provided the notarial officer is the attorney who drafted the estate planning instrument, an attorney working under the supervision of the drafting attorney, or a paralegal working under either such attorney and the notarial officer and person requesting the notarization can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound through an electronic device or process at the time of the notarial act.
  2. Provides that the measure only applies to wills executed from March 23, 2020, and the last day of the state of emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-04.
  3. Provides for the validity of notarial acts performed in compliance with Emergency Order #11 pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04 from its effective date through the date of its expiration.
  4. Provides that a witness to a will or codicil is considered in the presence of the testator if the witness, the testator, the other witness or witnesses, as the case may be, and a notarial officer as specified under #1 above can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound through an electronic device or process at the time all sign the will or codicil.
  5. Provides that a witness does not need to be physically in the state of New Hampshire at the time the witness attests to the testator’s signature.
  6. Clarifies that the measure does not authorize an electronic will or codicil.
Analysis:

New Hampshire Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #11 on March 23, 2020, allowing the temporary performance of remote online notarizations by notarial officers during the Covid-19 emergency. House Bill 1249 codifies this authorization for notarial acts performed on estate planning instruments under certain circumstances. This authorization is limited to situations in which the notarial officer is the attorney who drafted the estate planning instrument, an attorney working under the supervision of the drafting attorney, or a paralegal working under either such attorney and applies only to notarial acts performed between March 23, 2020, and the last day of the state of emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-04. HB 1249 requires the will or estate instrument to be signed on paper and does not authorize the creation and execution of electronic wills or codicils. All other requirements for executing a will or estate document apply.

Read the bill text.

Read Emergency Order #11 Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04

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