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Executive Order

TX Governor Executive Order (2020)

Notary Law Update: TX Governor Executive Order (2020)

State: Texas

Summary:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order temporarily allowing notarizations to be performed by video conference.

Signed:  April 09, 2020

Effective:  April 09, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

All Texas Notaries Public.

Changes:
  1. Requires a Notary to verify the identity of a person signing a document at the time the signature is taken by using two-way video and audio conference technology.
  2. Authorizes a Notary to verify identity by personal knowledge of the signing person, or by analysis based on the signing person’s remote presentation of a government-issued identification credential, including a passport or driver’s license, that contains the signature and a photograph of the person.
  3. Requires the signing person to transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document to the Notary, who may notarize the transmitted copy and then transmit the notarized copy back to the signing person by fax or electronic means, at which point the notarization is valid.
  4. Provides that the executive order will remain in effect until terminated by the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires.
  5. Clarifies that documents executed while this suspension is in effect, and in accordance with its terms, will remain valid after the termination of this suspension.
Analysis:

Texas was among the first wave of states to enact a remote online notarization statute in 2017. Today, Texas Notaries may be commissioned as a Texas Online Notary and perform remote online notarizations under that statute. However, with this Executive Order, Governor Abbott now allows any Texas Notary to perform a notarial act under the terms of the Order, and not under the terms of the statute. While at the time of publication the Order itself had not been posted online, the Governor issued a press release today and the Secretary of State reported it on the Secretary's website. Later, another page on the Secretary's website reported the suspension of several additional statutes to allow for various documents, a self-proved will, a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a directive to physician, or an oath of an executor, administrator, or guardian to be signed without having to appear physically before a Notary. Essentially, a Notary and signer will use a video conference program to satisfy the personal appearance requirement. The Notary will identify the signer using personal knowledge or the signer's presentation on camera of the signer's government-issued ID with a photograph and signature. The signer then faxes or electronically transmits the signed document to the Notary and the Notary may complete the notarization on it. When the Notary transmits the notarized document back to the signer, the notarization is considered complete and valid.

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