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New York Enacts eRecording Law, Paving Way For Electronic Notarization

New York State has enacted a new law that permits county recorders to electronically accept real estate-related documents and paves the way for electronic notarizations.

Specifically, S 2373A permits recorders to accept paper documents that have been digitized or electronic documents signed and notarized with electronic signatures. This is a significant development because New York is one of the country’s most populous states and, until this measure, had disallowed the use of electronic signatures — including a Notary’s signature — with any conveyance or instrument that could be recorded in county land records.

The law, which will go into effect in September 2012, also requires the state government to develop rules for electronic recording. In particular, the rules will address data security measures to ensure that electronic documents are accurate and authentic.

Many provisions of the law come from the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA), model legislation drafted by the Uniform Law Commission to authorize electronic recording and appoint a commission or state agency to publish technical standards for recorders to follow. URPERA has been adopted in whole or in part by 27 states and jurisdictions, and incorporating provisions of the model law should make it easier for documents that are electronically drafted, signed and notarized to be sent from other states to New York county recorders.

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