Notary News and Updates

Notaries and New York 202.7

What does New York Executive Order 202.7 mean for notaries?

As part of the pandemic response, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order concerning online notarizations. The order opens the door for closings performed in New York to be done remotely, at least temporarily.

The change in notary procedures allows commerce to continue without contributing to the spread of the virus. For example, deeds are legal documents that transfer real estate from seller to buyer and must be notarized. The audio-video notarization allows real estate closings to continue without violating social distance rules.

Times Herald-Record

How are Notaries Affected?

The truth is, we don’t know. There are a lot of deals being made right now to keep the banks doing business. And New York State Executive Order 202.7 would be a part of that.

Here is what we do know.

The governor’s order removes a lot of rules that governed how a signing occurs. This is happening all across New York state. This is a break on national rules on a significant number of loans. The repercussions of this are yet to be seen.

Right now it allows New York notaries to act as an online notary to perform closings. The notary involved, as well as the location of the signing, must both be in New York. The property itself does not need to be in New York, but the closing and online notary must both be in New York.

What the long term effects are remains to be seen. We all know online notarizations are on the horizon, but we don’t know if this will speed things up, or if people will game the system and make people put the breaks on. If we had to bet, it would probably be on the former.

How About Rules?

There are a lot of caveats to this law, as well as social interactions that would affect how a loan closing is performed.

Social distancing. A new phrase to most of us until a month or two ago, but a phrase that dominates our lives now. The new rules are designed to allow closings while keeping social distancing.

It is affecting closings, not just in New York, but across the country. Some buyers refuse to leave their house and that causes signings to go awry. Some buyers are asking the notary to slide the docs under the door.

But, I’m sure we all know that is a no-no.

The rules seem endless, but we suppose that is what you do when you don’t have any.

Notaries Under the New Online System

The world is changing. It is transitioning more quickly than any of us could imagine (minus a few doomsday preppers, who are looking like geniuses now). What comes from it is going to alter a lot of things.

We imagine that the federal regulations on certain rules will return soon. But, it will only accelerate the move to online signings. Proponents of online signings will use this as a casus belli.

There will still be a significant amount of signings that will need to be done in person.

Why Not Online or Mobile?

Exactly, why not?

Even with the day online notaries are on the horizon, that does not mean that every signing will be online. There will be a lot of signings that will still have to be done in person.

So just like we are looking at the possible realities of the future, so should you.

This is part three of our series on the coronavirus and the wider effects it has on our industry. It is amazing how quickly things have changed.


Are Notaries Essential Business?

It has only taken a couple of weeks and the landscape of our daily lives has changed, possibly forever.

Most of the nation is now under stay at home, or safer at home orders. With people only allowed to travel for things like groceries, or essential business.

This will change the notary landscape forever. But, at the moment, we should focus on our immediate business and the safety of ourselves, our families, our friends, our clients and everyone else.

Which Notaries are Deemed Essential?

Some notary functions have been declared an essential business via a memorandum for the financial services sector. Or in simpler terms, mortgages and other types of loans.

United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steven T. Munchin levied the mandate. It goes into great detail as to all of the sectors of financial services are essential.

If you do not have a copy of the memorandum, we advise you download it and carry it with you if you have a signing. Some localities are requiring it be on person, while others are more lax. It’s probably easier to just print and carry it, as keeping up with every local development isn’t easy.

Right now, local restrictions override any federal orders, so make sure you know your local travel orders or any other instructions mandated by your local leaders, at least as best as you can in this rapidly changing world.

Real Estate and Titles Keep Moving On

Real estate has not stopped. A few of the rules have changed, but the engine remains the same, even if it slows down.

The market has quickly changed along with everything else. What was hoped to be a banner home selling season has stood back. But, lower interest rates are now driving incredible interest in refinancing.

Craig Haskins, chief operating officer with Knight Barry Title, said a common misconception he is seeing is people think “a lot of our real estate business has just stopped.” “We’ve been deemed an essential service across the country. Even if your county courthouse is closed, there’s a good chance your transaction can get finalized,” Haskins said. “Also, as an industry, we’ve shown our ability to innovate quickly through all of this, and I hope it continues when some normalcy returns.”  

Housing Wire

What About Other Notary Functions?

The first thing that comes to mind are weddings.

And the rules are all over the place.

In some locales weddings are banned, in some you can have them, but no marriage license will be until a later date. And in some places the rules are different than that.

That is why it is important to know your local rules and what you can and cannot do.

What About Safety?

This crisis has started a rush towards remote online notarizations. Some states that have not approved them have given the option of performing a signing remotely.

When traveling to a signing, please follow the recommendations from the CDC. They have a lot of additional information on the site, like how to clean various items and what to do if you think you may be sick.

At the signing follow the above recommendations. But, remember, your safety is paramount.

This is part two of our series on the coronavirus and the wider effects it has on our industry. It is amazing how quickly things have changed.


CoronaVirus and the Mobile Notary, Static Notaries Too

Even if you have had you have had your head in the sand for a while, we are sure you have heard about the Coronavirus.

But, is the CoronaVirus something that the notary needs to obsess over?

The answer to that, if you take proper precautions, is that you can reduce the chances considerably.

Notaries Aren’t Large Corporations

As we watch large corporation after large corporation suspend events and some workplaces, it has led to people being very concerned.

But, the average notary is not a large corporation. While the corporation can withstand a few months of this, the plain fact is that the vast majority of notaries cannot.

And, if at all possible, we need to protect our businesses.

Common Sense Steps for a Notary in the CoronaVirus Outbreak

The first thing everyone should know, is to wash you hands more often that usual. Do not use antibacterial soap, just regular soap. Wash your hands and bottom of forearms in warm water for thirty seconds. That is the most effective way to kill germs.

What about Purell?

Only use Purell if you have to. If you don’t have access to properly wash your hands, then use it, but still wash your hands as soon as possible.

Editors Note: We are not throwing shade on Purell. It is much better than nothing, just not effective as washing your hands in warm water for 30 seconds.

And you need to be aware than antibacterial soaps or sanitizers kill a lot of the healthy bacteria on your skin. And that healthy bacteria helps you fight off a lot of different infections, though we cannot directly state that for the CoronaVirus.

We’ll let the scientists continue to figure it out. They are doing testing on different concentrations of sanitizer now, to find the most effective. It has to do with alcohol and chemical reaction with the skin, and what the best mixture is for this virus.

Invest in some latex or nitrile gloves. They are sold out in many places, but there are other places you might not expect to find them.

For example, Harbor Freight sells the gloves, and their shelves are still stocked. Same thing with auto parts stores like AutoZone.

It is also recommended at this time that you avoid large gatherings. That is why we are seeing sports leagues and concerts shutting down.

How About the Signing?

We know this is beating a dead horse, we say it all the time.

But, notaries instill trust in signings.

When you attend a signing, put on gloves when you get out of your vehicle. Use your own pen, and do not let anyone else use your pen. If you have to bring a couple of extra pens to be safe, do so.

Just realize once you give someone a pen, you do not want it back. Make your signers realize you take this seriously, and that will in effect, make them feel safer and instill trust.

When returning to the vehicle, take off the gloves before you open the car door. You do not want to get any virus in your vehicle. Keep a large Ziploc that you can put them in and seal it. Then throw it out at your earliest convenience.

Clean the handles of both your car doors and home doors every couple of days.

And this is not notary specific, but if you have children, bath time is right when they get home. Not after they’ve run around the house for hours.

What about masks?

It is still not recommended you need them, which is good because they have pretty much sold out. But, if you feel you need them, this is a good time to use your business tax ID and order them directly from a medical supply company.

What About the Cost of All This

Sometimes the cost of doing business is better than not doing business at all.

But, under current recommendations, the cost of gloves and pens is probably not going to put you out of business.

Also remember, any supplies you buy for your business to deal with the CoronaVirus is a business expense, not a personal one. You may want to speak to a tax professional on this.

Other CoronaVirus Tips

The most common ways to get infected moving forward may not be on your radar.

The biggest one is any shopping cart. So wash the handles before you grab it, and if you have a child in the seat, bath time when you get home.

Do not use re-usable bags at stores, unless you are going to thoroughly clean them every time you shop.

Get the single use bags and throw them out once the groceries or other shopping goodies are removed. Remember, these bags touch your shopping cart.

In public restrooms, do not use the air blower to dry your hands. They have been shown to spread germs. Partly because people don’t wash their hands well, and also because they have filters that almost never get changed.

Some models, like the newer ones you put your hand in, instead of under, are worse. They cause water droplets and germs to fly back up into your face. The same germs from the people who did not wash their hands properly and used the dryer anyway.

This means carry some paper towels with you, or Purell as a backup.

There have been a lot of people saying to elbow bump, instead of shaking hands or fist bumping. Do not do this. Many people are trained to cough into their elbow, so we don’t think you want to expose yourself to that.

How about instead we just smile at everyone and say hello.

Keep all of your handles in your house clean. Doors, cabinets, etc. Same for your vehicle, even if you are already taking precautions with gloves.

And don’t forget about things like gas pumps or other devices you may use that a lot of people touch, like the credit card machines at checkout. Really, when was the last time you think your gas station cleaned the handles?

Does this mean you will be 100% safe? No. And we do not want notaries thinking that. We all need to stay on the ball, and protect ourselves and our families.

CoronaVirus and Notaries Summed Up

Is the CoronaVirus something we should all have on our radar? Yes.

We should take every precaution to keep ourselves and our families safe.

And our signers, too.

So, if you take away one thing from this article:

  • Be Alert
  • Be Educated
  • Take Precautions
  • Be Safe

This is part one of our series on the coronavirus and the wider effects it has on our industry. It is amazing how quickly things have changed.


The Business of Gifting Notary Commissions

While the rest of us have worked hard to become a notary, it would seem unfair if some notaries were gifted their commissions.

We’re pretty sure that is something just about all of us can agree on that.

So the question is why in the world is this happening?

It’s Not What You Know

Gifted Notaries get to skip the process

Issues have been raised lately about notaries that have been gifted their notary commissions, skipping the process(es) that we have to use to get one.

These people get to pass go and collect their $200, while everyone else is stuck on Baltic Avenue.

It is unthinkable to us. As a company that relies on professional notaries, it is quite disturbing to us, both as notaries, and as a notary service.

So, why, in this day and age, would unqualified people get a notary license, making a mockery of our industry in the process.

We’ll give you one guess.

It’s Who You Know

It appears politicians are abusing their power to give notary commissions to family, friends and donors.

Imagine our shock!!!

There is a pretty significant news story surrounding this issue at the moment, but we have decided to give it the cold shoulder. The biggest thing we’ve learned since the Philly Fiasco, is that if an issue arises in one area, it is probably more widespread than we think.

It’s not like politicians don’t talk to each other or anything like that, smh. (shaking my head, for those not caught up with internet vernacular).

Every single gifted notary should have their licenses stripped immediately, and should never be allowed to become a notary again in the future.

But, the real question here is is why? Why would one of the most powerful office holders in the nation allegedly do something like this?

Is this something just to flaunt their power? Or is a part of a bag of dirty tricks they plan to unleash in the future?

Knowledge is Power

Unlike the alleged abuses of power, a professional notary has the training and expertise that is only learned over time. We would add experience to this, but we all have to start somewhere. None the less, as experience is racked up, it only creates a better notary.

Professional notaries are all about fairness, transparency and legitimacy. A gifted notary has none of these, and they have no place with the rest of us.

We are professionals, they are not, saying it nicely.

While the average signer is most likely not going to know anything about this, it is still important for us to know. Because this is not a gift for us, it is our business and livelihood.

And that is why this is an important reminder (which most of you don’t need), to use your knowledge to give your signers the most professional experience possible.


Real ID, the Notary, and RON

Brace Yourself Real ID is Coming - Ned Start Meme

For those unaware, changes to identification are coming.

Real ID goes into full effect on October 1st.

But, does it, or should it, affect a notary and the future of signings, even if those signings are only of a certain type or types.

What is Real ID?

Real ID is a new standard of identification that will be required to do certain things, such as flying.

Done through your existing driver’s license, the applying person’s identity has to be proven by multiple other sources of identity. It is not required, but as mentioned above, those without Real ID will be limited in things like flying.

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.


Again, it is not required, and some states are resisting. But, if you want or need more information, check out their FAQ’s.

What About In Person and Mobile Signings

It is hard to guess how, or even if Real ID will have an affect on the average notary.

Our guess is not.

We’ll say it again. Real ID is not required. So some signers will not have them. But, in person, verifying identification is not only possible, it is expected.

There are also groups, like immigrants, who have arrived and need notary services. Many of them are preyed upon by notarios, and should have access to notary services that are professional, properly done and promptly. Or as we’ve liked to call them since we wrote the previous sentence, The Three Peas.

What About Real ID and Remote Online Notarizations?

Could it, Should It?

If we are to notarize documents remotely, should it be required all signers have the golden standard for identification? We’ve already been bombarded with how new technology will do this, but is that going to work all the time, or is it smoke and mirrors?

So, why not use a system that is in place, and has already been available in most states for the last couple of years?

If warranted, this is a national standard that can be rolled out efficiently. It is also one that the federal government believes is the best way of identification for access to sensitive sites and information.

One could easily say that notaries are controlled by the state, and should not be subject to federal standards or policy. And, they would have a valid point.

But, another valid point would be that states are only adopting a federal standard, which will help integration between states as the industry evolves at a frenetic pace.

Real ID or Not, Notaries Bestow Trust

We talk about it all the time. Notaries instill trust into a signing. They give a signing legitimacy.

With or without Real ID, professional notaries are still going to instill trust. Many of the most important times in a person’s life, the notary makes it legitimate, because the signers trust they will do the job to the highest standards.

Would a Real ID requirement instill more trust in a notarization? Or would it be an onerous burden that prevents people from getting the proper notary services they need?

Or would it differ based on the type of signing?

More trust is always tremendous for a notary. The question is the correct path forward as the industry evolves. New technology is arriving, if not already here.

But, which technology will help instill the most trust? That is the most important question.

This is the fourth installment on remote online notarization and the things around it. You can find other articles below: