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Law

NJ Assembly 4250

Notary Law Update: NJ Assembly 4250

State: New Jersey

Summary:
New Jersey enacts the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) with a new official stamp, journal, and education requirement, and the provisions for notarial acts for remotely located individuals using communication technology.

Signed:  July 22, 2021

Effective:  October 20, 2021

Chapter: Public Law 2021-179

Affects:
Creates as yet uncodified sections in and repeals Sections 52:7-16, 52:7-20, and 52:7-21 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated.

Changes:

Definitions

  1. Defines “acknowledgment,” “electronic,” “electronic signature,” “in a representative capacity,” “non-attorney applicant,” “notarial act,” “notary public,” “notarial officer,” “official stamp,” “person,” “sign,” “signature,” “stamping device,” “state,” and “verification on oath or affirmation.”
  2. Defines the following terms that apply to notarial acts for remotely located individuals: “communication technology,” “foreign state,” “identity proofing,” “outside the United States,” and “remotely located individual.”

Notary Commission

  1. Clarifies that the State Treasurer may (previously “shall”) commission so many Notaries as the State Treasurer deems necessary to commission.
  2. Requires all applications for a Notary commission to be submitted electronically.
  3. Clarifies that the application form for a Notary commission must provide a notice to the applicant that if the Notary advertises services in any language, the Notary must provide the following statement or a translation of the statement if the advertisement is not in English: "I am not an attorney licensed to practice law and may not give legal advice about immigration or any other legal matter or accept fees for legal advice."
  4. Clarifies that the $25 fee for a Notary commission is payable by credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer.
  5. No longer requires an applicant for a Notary commission to be a citizen of the United States.
  6. Requires an applicant for a Notary commission to be a legal resident of New Jersey or have a place of employment or practice in New Jersey.
  7. Requires an applicant for a Notary commission to not be disqualified to receive a commission under Section 9 of the Act.
  8. Requires a non-attorney applicant for an initial Notary commission to provide satisfactory proof that the applicant has completed a course of study approved by the State Treasurer and passed an examination prescribed by the State Treasurer.
  9. Requires a non-attorney applying to renew a Notary commission who has satisfactorily completed a course of study at least one time, or who was commissioned for the first time before the effective date of the Act to complete a continuing education course and provide satisfactory proof of such completion.
  10. Clarifies that a nonresident applicant who is an employee of a business with its domicile or primary place of business in New Jersey and performs his employment duties remotely from a home office or a co-working space can apply to receive a Notary commission.
  11. Clarifies that a nonresident applicant must file with the State Treasurer a certificate (previously an affidavit) setting forth the residence and address of the applicant, and the office or place of employment in New Jersey.
  12. Extends from 45 days to three months the time in which a Notary, upon receipt of the commission, must take and subscribe an oath before the clerk of the county in which the Notary resides, or for non-residents, the clerk of the county in which the nonresident maintains an office or is an employee of a business within its domicile or primary place of business in New Jersey.
  13. Clarifies that a commission authorizes the Notary to perform notarial acts and does not provide the Notary any immunity or benefit conferred by New Jersey law on public officials or employees.
  14. Clarifies that the statement under oath that a Notary must sign and submit to the State Treasurer when the Notary changes the Notary’s name no longer must be filed with the clerk of the county in which the Notary may have filed a certificate of commission and qualification.

Education and Examination, Manual

  1. Clarifies that the education and examination requirements for a Notary commission do not apply to New Jersey attorneys.
  2. Requires initial and renewing Notary applicants to comply with all educational requirements that the State Treasurer sets forth in rules.
  3. Requires the State Treasurer to prescribe and approve a course of study to foster and confirm applicants' understanding of the principles and standards that govern notarial practices and a continuing education course of study and continuing education course.
  4. Requires applicants to acknowledge that they have read and understood the Notary Public Manual and complete any other educational programs that the Treasurer may require.
  5. Requires the State Treasurer to prescribe an application form and certificate of approval for any Notary course of study and continuing education course proposed by a provider.
  6. Clarifies that the State Treasurer may also provide a Notary course of study and continuing education course.
  7. Requires the State Treasurer to compile a list of all independent vendors offering an approved course of study and continuing education course and post the list on the State Treasurer’s website.
  8. Requires any course of study for a non-attorney applicant for an initial commission to cover the statutes, regulations, procedures, and ethics for Notaries as described in the Notary Public Manual issued by the State Treasurer, and to include the duties and responsibilities of a Notary.
  9. Requires a continuing education course for a non-attorney applicant for renewal of a commission to cover topics that ensure maintenance and enhancement of skill, knowledge, and competency necessary to perform notarial acts.
  10. Clarifies that the course of study and continuing education may be provided by classroom instruction, by online instruction, or by any other method approved by the State Treasurer.
  11. Requires the Treasurer to regularly assess the efficacy of the notarial education program.
  12. Requires the Treasurer to adjust the program's content as notarial technologies and processes evolve, and publish on the Treasury website, on or before September 30 each year, a report on the state of Notary education in New Jersey that contains a summary of commissioning activity, an assessment regarding the need for new or changed educational content, and the estimated timelines for delivering the new or changed content.
  13. Requires the examination for non-attorney Notary applicants to be based on the statutes, rules, regulations, procedures, and ethical requirements for Notaries as described in the Notary Public Manual issued by the State Treasurer and include the requirements, functions, duties, and responsibilities of a Notary.
  14. Provides that the examination may be given by the State Treasurer or by an independent vendor under contract to the State Treasurer.
  15. Provides that if a contract vendor is utilized for the examination, the contract vendor must develop and administer the examination in accordance with specifications approved by the State Treasurer, who has the sole responsibility for establishing minimum qualifications and passing requirements of candidates taking the examination.
  16. Requires the State Treasurer to establish a non-refundable fee payable at the examination site and provides that the amount of the fee must be established or changed by the State Treasurer taking into consideration the fee charged by any independent contract vendor to develop and administer the examination, and the need to defray any proper expenses incurred by the Department of the Treasury in its administration of any independent contract vendor administering the examination.
  17. Clarifies that the fee for the examination must not be fixed at a level that will raise amounts more than the amount estimated to be so required.
  18. Repeals the prior provision authorizing a Notary to receive from the clerk of the county where the Notary qualified as many certificates of authority and qualification as the Notary requires for filing in other counties.
  19. Clarifies that the Notary Public Manual published by the State Treasurer must include, but not be limited to, the statutes, rules, regulations, procedures, and ethical requirements governing a Notary.
  20. Clarifies that the Notary Public Manual must be reviewed periodically (formerly “at least quarterly”).

Grounds for Action Against a Notary Commission

  1. Provides that the State Treasurer may deny an application for a Notary commission, refuse to renew a Notary commission, or suspend, revoke, or otherwise limit the commission of a Notary for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence, or reliability necessary to act as a Notary.
  2. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for failure to comply with the Act.
  3. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for a fraudulent, dishonest, or deceitful misstatement or omission in the application for commission as a Notary submitted to the State Treasurer.
  4. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for a finding against, or admission of liability by, the applicant or Notary in any legal proceeding or disciplinary action based on fraud, dishonesty, or deceit, including but not limited to a violation of NJSA 2C:21-31 Section 1 or NJSA 2C:21-22, but nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to supersede NJSA 2A:168A-1 et seq.
  5. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for a conviction of a crime of the second degree or above, but nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to supersede NJSA 2A:168A-1 et seq.
  6. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for failure by the Notary to discharge any duty required by any law, including NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., any rules or regulations promulgated thereunder by the State Treasurer, and any other state or federal law.
  7. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for use of false or misleading advertising or representation by the Notary representing that the Notary is commissioned, licensed, or authorized to practice or engage in work that the Notary is not commissioned, licensed, or authorized to engage in.
  8. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary who is not an attorney licensed to practice law, for (a) giving legal advice, (b) acting as an immigration consultant or an expert on immigration matters, (c) otherwise performing the duties of an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, or (d) a disciplinary or other administrative action resulting in a finding of culpability if the applicant holds any professional license regulated by New Jersey, or creating or reinforcing, by any means, a false impression that the person is licensed to engage in the practice of law in New Jersey or any other state, including, but not limited to, committing a violation of NJSA 2C:21-22 or 2C:21-31.
  9. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for failure to take and subscribe to the oath pursuant to NJSA 52:7-14 Section 5 within three months of the receipt of a Notary commission.
  10. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for withholding access to or possession of an original record or photocopy provided by a person who seeks performance of a notarial act by the Notary, except where allowed by law.
  11. Authorizes the State Treasurer to take action against the commission of a Notary for the denial of an application for a Notary commission in another state, the refusal to renew a commission in another state, or the suspension, revocation, or other limitation of the commission of the Notary in another state.
  12. Clarifies that the Notary has the right to a hearing if the State Treasurer denies an application or takes action against the commission of the Notary.
  13. Clarifies that the State Treasurer taking action against the commission of a Notary does not prevent a person aggrieved by the actions of a Notary from seeking other criminal or civil remedies provided by law.

Notarial Acts and Standards

  1. Authorizes a notarial officer to perform a notarial act authorized by NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act, and any other applicable law.
  2. Authorizes a notarial officer to certify copies of documents and depositions, and witness or attest signatures.
  3. Authorizes a notarial officer to certify that a tangible copy of an electronic record is an accurate copy of the electronic record.
  4. Requires a notarial officer who takes an acknowledgment of a record to determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and making the acknowledgment has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual.
  5. Requires a notarial officer who takes a verification of a statement on oath or affirmation to determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and making the verification has the identity claimed and that the signature on the statement verified is the signature of the individual.
  6. Requires a notarial officer who witnesses or attests to a signature to determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer and signing the record has the identity claimed.
  7. Requires a notarial officer who certifies or attests a copy of a record or an item that was copied to determine that the copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the record or item.
  8. Requires a notarial officer who makes or notes a protest of a negotiable instrument to determine the matters set forth in subsection b. of NJSA 12A:3-505.
  9. Prohibits a notarial officer from performing a notarial act with respect to a record to which the officer or the officer's spouse or civil union partner is a party, or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest.
  10. Clarifies that a notarial act performed in violation of the provision related to a disqualifying interest is voidable.
  11. Clarifies that a notarial officer has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual if the individual is personally known to the officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.
  12. Clarifies that a notarial officer has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual if the officer can identify the individual by means of (a) a passport, driver's license, or government-issued, non-driver identification card, which is current or expired not more than three years before the performance of the notarial act; or (b) another form of government-issued identification, which is current or expired not more than three years before the performance of the notarial act, and which contains the individual's signature or a photograph of the individual's face; and is satisfactory to the notarial officer; or (c) a verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the officer or using communication technology to appear before the officer pursuant to Section 19 of the Act and personally known to the officer or whom the officer can identify on the basis of an ID mentioned in (a) above.
  13. Authorizes a notarial officer to require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the officer of the identity of the individual.
  14. Provides that if a notarial act relates to a statement made in, or a signature executed on, a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature must appear personally before the notarial officer or must use communication technology to appear before the officer pursuant to Section 19 of the Act.
  15. Provides that if an individual is physically unable to sign a record, the individual may direct an individual other than the notarial officer to sign the record with the individual's name.
  16. Provides that in notarizing a record for an individual physically unable to sign, the notarial officer must insert "Signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual)" or words of similar import.
  17. Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act if the officer is not satisfied that (a) the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record; (b) the individual's signature is knowingly and voluntarily made; (c) the individual's signature on the record or statement substantially conforms to the signature on a form of identification used to determine the identity of the individual; or (d) the physical appearance of the individual signing the record or statement substantially conforms to the photograph on a form of identification used to determine the identity of the individual.
  18. Authorizes a notarial officer to refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by law other than NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act.
  19. Repeals the statutory fees that a Notary may charge and clarifies that for administering oaths, taking affidavits, taking proofs of a deed, and taking acknowledgments Notaries, judges, and other officers authorized by law to perform such services shall receive a fee as fixed by the State Treasurer by regulation.
  20. Provides that when any other certificate is required by law to be annexed to the certificate of a notarial officer, other than a Notary, for the recording of a deed acknowledged before the officer, a certificate no longer is required to be annexed to the officer’s certificate of the taking of an oath.

Journal of Notarial Acts

  1. Requires a Notary to maintain a journal of all notarial acts the Notary performs.
  2. Provides that the journal may be created and maintained on a tangible medium or in an electronic format.
  3. Provides that a Notary must maintain only one journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts, whether those notarial acts are performed regarding tangible or electronic records.
  4. Provides that if the journal is maintained on a tangible medium, it must be a permanent, bound register with consecutively numbered lines and consecutively numbered pages.
  5. Provides that if the journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with any rules and regulations promulgated by the State Treasurer in the New Jersey Notary Public Manual.
  6. Requires the Notary to record in the journal for each notarial act (a) the date and time of the notarial act; (b) the type of notarial act, including but not limited to the taking of an acknowledgment, the taking of a proof of a deed, the administration of an oath, or the taking of an affidavit; (c) the name and address of each person for whom the notarial act is performed; (d) if the identity of the individual is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect; (e) if the identity of the individual is based on satisfactory evidence, a brief description of the method of identification and the identification credential presented, if any, including, if applicable, the type, date of issuance, and date of expiration of an identification document, or the name and signature of any identifying witness and, if applicable, the type, date of issuance, and date of expiration of a document identifying the witness; and (f) an itemized list of all fees charged for the notarial act.
  7. Provides that if a Notary's journal is lost or stolen, the Notary must notify the State Treasurer within 10 days of the loss or theft.
  8. Provides that the Notary must either retain the journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act recorded in the journal or transmit the journal to the Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, or a repository approved by the State Treasurer.
  9. Provides that on resignation from, or the revocation or suspension of, a Notary's commission, the Notary must either: (a) retain the journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act recorded in the journal and inform the State Treasurer where the journal is located; or (b) transmit the journal to the Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, or a repository approved by the State Treasurer.
  10. Provides that on the death or adjudication of incompetency of a current or former Notary, the Notary's personal representative or guardian or any other person knowingly in possession of the journal must, within 45 days, transmit it to the Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, or a repository approved by the State Treasurer.
  11. Authorizes that in lieu of maintaining a journal, a Notary who is an attorney-at-law admitted to practice in New Jersey, or who is employed by an attorney-at-law, or who is employed by or acting as an agent for a title insurance company licensed to do business in New Jersey pursuant NJSA 17:22A-26 et seq., to maintain a record of notarial acts in the form of files regularly maintained for the attorney's law practice or the title insurance company's business activities, as the case may be.

Notarial Certificate and Seal

  1. No longer requires a Notary to affix the Notary’s name by printing, typing, or impressing by a seal or mechanical stamp on each acknowledgment or jurat certificate.
  2. Requires a notarial act to be evidenced by a certificate of notarial act.
  3. Requires a certificate of notarial act to (a) be executed contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act; (b) be signed and dated by the notarial officer; (c) identify the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed; (d) contain the title of the office of the notarial officer; and (e) if the notarial officer is a Notary, indicate the date of expiration of the Notary's commission.
  4. Clarifies that a certificate of notarial act is sufficient if it conforms to the general requirements for a notarial certificate above and (a) is in a short form set forth in Section 21 of the Act; (b) is in a form otherwise permitted by the law of New Jersey; (c) is in a form permitted by the law applicable in the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed; or (d) sets forth the actions of the notarial officer which shall meet the requirements provided in NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented, and any other applicable laws of New Jersey.
  5. Provides that by executing a certificate of notarial act, a notarial officer certifies that the officer has made the determinations specified by NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act.
  6. Prohibits a notarial officer from affixing the officer's signature to, or logically associate it with, a certificate until the notarial act has been performed.
  7. Provides that if a notarial act is performed regarding a tangible record, a certificate must be part of, or attached to, the record.
  8. Provides that if a notarial act is performed regarding an electronic record, the certificate must be affixed to, or logically associated with, the electronic record.
  9. Provides that if the State Treasurer has established standards pursuant to NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act for attaching, affixing, or logically associating the certificate, the process must conform to the standards.
  10. Requires a Notary to use an official stamp on a tangible and electronic record.
  11. Requires the official stamp to include the name of the Notary, the title "Notary Public, State of New Jersey," and the Notary's commission expiration date.
  12. Requires the official stamp to be capable of being copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.
  13. Provides that a Notary is responsible for the security of the Notary’s stamping device and may not allow another individual to use the device to perform a notarial act.
  14. Authorizes a Notary who cannot physically use the stamping device to give specific instruction to another person to affix the stamping device for the Notary.
  15. Clarifies that the stamping device is the property of the Notary and not of the Notary's employer, even if the employer paid for the stamping device.
  16. Provides that if the stamping device used by the Notary is lost or stolen, the Notary or the Notary's personal representative must notify the State Treasurer of the loss or theft within 10 days.
  17. Requires a certificate of notarial act for a remotely located individual to indicate that the notarial act was performed using communication technology.
  18. Clarifies that a short form certificate of notarial act provided in Section 21 of the Act is sufficient for a notarial act involving communication technology if it (a) complies with any rules or regulations adopted by the State Treasurer under Section 19 subsection o., paragraph (1), or Section 29 of the Act; or (b) is in the form provided by Section 21 of the Act and contains a statement substantially as follows: "This notarial act involved the use of communication technology."
  19. Provides short-form certificates of notarial acts for an acknowledgment in an individual capacity, an acknowledgment in a representative capacity, a verification on oath or affirmation, a signature witnessing or attestation, and a copy certification.

Notarial Acts on Electronic Records

  1. Authorizes a notarial officer to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records.
  2. Prohibits a person from requiring a notarial officer to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology that the officer has not selected.
  3. Provides that before a Notary performs the Notary's initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, the Notary must notify the State Treasurer that the Notary will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records and identify the technology that the Notary intends to use.
  4. Provides that if the State Treasurer has established standards for approval of technology pursuant to Section 29 of the Act, the technology must conform to those standards and that if the technology conforms to the standards, the State Treasurer shall approve the use of the technology.
  5. Provides that a county clerk, a register of deeds and mortgages, and a county surrogate shall accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate as satisfying any requirement that a record accepted for recording be an original if the notarial officer executing the notarial certificate certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals

  1. Authorizes a notarial officer in New Jersey to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual.
  2. Requires a Notary to notify the State Treasurer that the Notary will be performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals before the Notary’s first such act and inform the State Treasurer of the technologies the Notary will be using.
  3. Provides that a notarial act for a remotely located individual may not be performed on a record relating to the creation and execution of wills or codicils, except as noted in the paragraphs below.
  4. Clarifies that the remotely located individual may be physically located anywhere and not just in New Jersey.
  5. Requires a notarial officer to identify a remotely located individual by personal knowledge, a credible witness appearing physically or using communication technology to appear before the notarial officer, or by satisfactory evidence using at least two different types of identity proofing.
  6. Requires a notarial officer to reasonably be able to confirm that a record before the officer is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the remotely located individual executed a signature.
  7. Requires a notarial officer, or a person acting on behalf of the officer, to create an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act.
  8. Provides that for a remotely located individual located outside the United States, the record must be intended to be filed with or relate to a matter before a public official or court, governmental entity, or other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or involve property located in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or involve a transaction substantially connected with the United States.
  9. Provides that for a remotely located individual located outside the United States, the act of making the statement or signing the record must not be prohibited by the foreign state in which the remotely located individual is located.
  10. Authorizes a notarial officer in New Jersey to use communication technology to take an acknowledgment of a signature on a tangible record (including a record that relates to a law governing the creation and execution of wills or codicils) that is in the possession of the Notary if the record is displayed to and identified by the remotely located individual during the audio-visual session.
  11. Clarifies that a notarial officer’s obligation to reasonably confirm that the tangible record  (including a record that relates to a law governing the creation and execution of wills or codicils) before the officer is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which the individual executed a signature is satisfied if the individual signs the record and a declaration which is part of or securely attached to the record during the audio-visual session.
  12. Provides that the declaration required in the paragraph above must substantially read as follows: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the record to which this declaration is attached is the same record on which [name of notarial officer] performed a notarial act and before whom I appeared by means of communication technology on [date]” and contain the printed and signed name of the remotely located individual.
  13. Requires the remotely located individual for whom the notarial officer performs a notarial act on a tangible record using communication technology to send the record and declaration to the officer not later than 3 days after the notarial act was performed.
  14. Requires a notarial officer who performs a notarial act on a tangible record (including a record that relates to a law governing the creation and execution of wills or codicils) using communication technology to record the remotely located individual signing the record and the declaration in the audio-visual recording of the notarial act.
  15. Requires a notarial officer who performs a notarial act on a tangible record (including a record that relates to a law governing the creation and execution of wills or codicils) using communication technology, after receipt of the record and declaration from the individual, to execute the certificate of notarial act required by Section 13 of the Act which includes the following statement or words of similar import, “I [name of notarial officer] witnessed, by means of communication technology [name of remotely located individual] sign the attached record and date on [date].”
  16. Clarifies that a notarial act performed using communication technology on a tangible record (including a record that relates to a law governing the creation and execution of wills or codicils) that satisfies subsection f. of Section 19 of the Act complies with the requirement in Section 13, subsection a., paragraph (1) and is effective on the date on which the remotely located individual signed the declaration before the notarial officer using communication technology.
  17. Clarifies that subsections f. and g. of Section 19 of the Act are not intended to exclude other procedures to satisfy the requirements of Section 19 for a notarial act performed with respect to a tangible record.
  18. Clarifies that a notarial officer in New Jersey may administer an oath to a remotely located individual using communication technology.
  19. Clarifies that in administering an oath using communication technology, except as required or permitted by rule or law of New Jersey, the notarial officer must identify the individual under Section 19 subsection d., paragraph (1), create an audio-visual recording under Section 19 subsection d., paragraph (3) of the individual taking the oath, and preserve a copy of the audio-visual recording.
  20. Provides that if the State Treasurer has established standards under Section 29 of the Act for approval of communication technology or identity proofing, the communication technology and identity proofing must conform to those standards.
  21. Clarifies that a notarial act performed using communication technology for a remotely located individual is deemed performed in New Jersey and is governed by New Jersey law.
  22. Clarifies that it is the intent of the Legislature that, to the fullest extent allowed by the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution and the laws of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a notarial act performed in New Jersey shall be recognized, be enforceable, and have the same effect under the law of the 50 states as if performed by a notarial officer of those jurisdictions.
  23. Provides that by allowing its communication technology or identity proofing to facilitate a notarial act for a remotely located individual or by providing storage of the audio-visual recordings, the provider of the communication technology, identity proofing, or storage appoints the State Treasurer as the provider's agent for service of process in any civil action in this State related to the notarial act.

Recognition of Notarial Acts

  1. Provides that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title.
  2. Provides that a notarial act may be performed in New Jersey by an individual authorized by the applicable law to perform the notarial act.
  3. Clarifies that the signature and title of a notarial officer authorized by the applicable law to perform the notarial act conclusively establishes the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.
  4. Provides that a notarial act performed in another state or under the authority and in the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe has the same effect under the law of New Jersey as if performed by a notarial officer of New Jersey if the act performed in that state or tribe is performed by: (a) a Notary of that state or tribe; (b) a judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of a court of that state or tribe; or (c) any other individual authorized by the law of that state or tribe to perform the notarial act.
  5. Clarifies that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in another state or federally recognized Indian tribe are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title.
  6. Clarifies that the signature and title of a notarial officer described in subparagraph (a) or (b) above conclusively establish the authority of the officer of the other state or Indian tribe to perform the notarial act.
  7. Provides that a notarial act performed under federal law has the same effect under the law of New Jersey as if performed by a notarial officer of New Jersey if the act performed is performed by: (a) a judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of a court; (b) an individual in military service or performing duties under the authority of military service who is authorized to perform notarial acts under federal law; (c) an individual designated a notarizing officer by the U.S. Department of State for performing notarial acts overseas; or (d) any other individual authorized by federal law to perform the notarial act.
  8. Clarifies that the signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act under federal law are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and that the individual holds the designated title.
  9. Clarifies that the signature and title of a notarial officer under federal law described in subparagraph (a), (b), or (c) above conclusively establish the authority of the officer to perform the notarial act.
  10. Recognizes notarial acts performed under the authority and in the jurisdiction of a foreign state, a constituent unit of the foreign state, or a multinational international governmental organization as having the same effect under the law of New Jersey as if performed by a notarial officer of New Jersey.
  11. Provides that if the title of office and indication of authority to perform notarial acts in a foreign state appears in a digest of foreign law or in a list customarily used as a source for that information, the authority of an officer with that title to perform notarial acts is conclusively established.
  12. Clarifies that the signature and official stamp of an individual holding an office described above are prima facie evidence that the signature is genuine and the individual holds the designated title.
  13. Clarifies that an apostille in the form prescribed by the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, and issued by a foreign state party to the Hague Convention conclusively establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the notarial officer holds the indicated office.
  14. Clarifies that a consular authentication issued by an individual designated by the U.S. Department of State as a notarizing officer for performing notarial acts overseas and attached to the record with respect to which the notarial act is performed conclusively establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the notarial officer holds the indicated office.

Other Provisions

  1. Requires the State Treasurer to maintain an electronic database of current and former Notaries, including the dates that the Notary was commissioned and authorized to perform notarial acts, through which a person may verify the Notary’s authority to perform notarial acts, and which indicates whether a Notary has notified the State Treasurer that the Notary will be performing notarial acts on electronic records.
  2. Provides that except as otherwise provided in Section 9 of the Act, the failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act, does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the officer.
  3. Clarifies that the validity of a notarial act under NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act, does not prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to invalidate the record or transaction that is the subject of the notarial act or from seeking other remedies available by law and as provided in NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act.
  4. Clarifies that NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act, shall not validate any purported notarial act performed by an individual who does not have the authority to perform notarial acts.
  5. Clarifies that to acknowledge a deed or to acknowledge a deed or other instrument, the maker of the instrument must appear before an officer specified in NJSA 46:14-6.1 or use communication technology to appear before the officer pursuant to Section 19 of the Act and acknowledge that it was executed as the maker's own act. 
  6. Clarifies that to prove a deed or other instrument, a subscribing witness must appear before an officer specified in NJSA 46:14-6.1 or use communication technology to appear before the officer pursuant to Section 19 of the Act and swear that he or she witnessed the maker of the instrument execute the instrument as the maker's own act.
  7. Clarifies that to prove a deed or other instrument executed on behalf of a corporation or other entity, a subscribing witness must appear before an officer specified in NJSA 46:14-6.1 or use communication technology to appear before the officer pursuant to Section 19 of the Act and swear that the representative was authorized to execute the instrument on behalf of the entity and that he or she witnessed the representative execute the instrument as the act of the entity.
  8. No longer authorizes a foreign commissioner of deeds for New Jersey to take acknowledgments or proofs in New Jersey, or in any other United States or foreign jurisdictions.
  9. Repeals the prior provisions stating that under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act transactions to the extent governed by the Uniform Commercial Code Sections 1-107 and 1-206 of Article 2 and Article 2A and a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce, or other matters of family law do not apply.
  10. Repeals NJSA Section 52:7-16, 52:7-20, and 52:7-21.

Rules and Regulations

  1. Requires the State Treasurer to adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," to implement the provisions of NJSA 52:7-10 et seq., as amended and supplemented by the Act.
  2. Provides that any rules and regulations or procedures and standards regarding the performance of notarial acts with respect to electronic records shall not require, or accord greater legal status or effect to, the implementation or application of a specific technology or technical specification.
  3. Authorizes the rules and regulations or procedures and standards to (a) prescribe the manner of performing notarial acts regarding tangible and electronic records; (b) include provisions to ensure that any change to or tampering with a record bearing a certificate of a notarial act is self-evident; (c) include provisions to ensure integrity in the creation, transmittal, storage, or authentication of electronic records or signatures; (d) prescribe the process of granting, renewing, conditioning, denying, suspending, revoking, or otherwise limiting a Notary commission and assuring the trustworthiness of an individual holding a commission as Notary; (e) provisions to prevent fraud or mistake in the performance of notarial acts; and (f) provide for the administration of the examination under Section 7 the Act.
  4. Authorizes the State Treasurer to adopt rules and regulations under Section 19 relating to notarial acts involving the use of communication technology. The rules and regulations adopted under Section 19 may (a) prescribe the means of performing a notarial act involving a remotely located individual using communication technology; (b) establish standards for communication technology and identity proofing; (c) establish requirements or procedures to approve providers of communication technology and the process of identity proofing; (d) establish standards and a period for the retention of an audio-visual recording; and (e) prescribe methods for confirmation of a tangible record by a notarial officer permitted under Section 19 subsection e.
  5. Requires the State Treasurer to adopt interim rules and regulations within 90 days of the effective date of the Act (by January 18, 2022), which shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months.
Analysis:

Over the past twenty years, most states with antiquated notarial statutes have thoroughly revised their laws, bringing them up to date with the most recent and progressive Notary standards. New Jersey is one state that had not updated its laws in a very long time. With A 4250, New Jersey enacts substantive provisions from the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, including provisions for notarizing electronic records and records using communication technology for remotely located individuals. New Jersey is the first state to adopt the 2021 amendments to the RULONA that explicitly authorize notarial acts for remotely located individuals on tangible (paper) documents. A 4250 now will require New Jersey Notaries to use an official stamp. New Jersey was one of the very few states remaining that did not require Notaries to use a Notary seal or stamp. The new law will also require Notaries to keep a journal of every notarial act the Notary performs. It also will require applicants for a new and renewing commission to meet the educational requirements established by the State Treasurer and pass an examination. The bill takes effect 90 days following enactment, which is projected to be October 20, 2021, but the education and examination requirements have a delayed effective date of one year.

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