Saturday, April 16, 2016

Consumer Article: Should you have speeding ticket affidavits, loan documents, or deeds notarized online?

Dear Consumer:

The writer of this article is not an attorney.   Use this information at your own risk.

Having documents notarized online may sound like a great convenience, but make sure the final recipient agrees to accept an electronically notarized document. The person or company  who wants the document notarized has the final say about whether a tangible, original, paper and ink notarization is required or if an electronic notarization is acceptable.

Consumer Article: Notarizing Online

Speeding ticket affidavits - If you plan to have a speeding ticket affidavit notarized online, contact the municipal judge or justice of the peace involved with your ticket and get written permission to submit an electronically notarized affidavit.

The judge does not have to accept it in electronic form. Laws in most states require that all parties involved in a document that will be electronically signed and notarized must be in agreement to accept the electronic signatures.  (Example: Tex. Bus. & Com. Code §322.005 ).

Loan documents - Before you have loan documents notarized online using a webcam or smartphone app, make sure that your lender will accept that format.

If the document involves a lender, bank, or mortgage loan get permission in writing from your lender to use an online notary in Virginia to notarize your mortgage-related documents.  In this case, the lender makes the rules.  Many mortgage loans can't be notarized by online notaries who aren't commissioned and living in the same state where the property is located.

Don't waste your time or money; get the lender's written permission first.

Deeds or other recordable documents - Talk to the title company involved or an attorney who is familiar with property law.  Whether right or wrong, many recorders are not yet accepting these types of electronically notarized documents.  It appears that Property Recording Industry Association (PRIA) is aware of this concern and has addressed it in a November 2015 report on page 8.

Documents requiring original ink signatures - Ask the recipient of the document if you can have the document notarized electronically or online without an inked signature.

If it is acceptable for the document to look like a copy of a notarized document, you might not have a problem using an online remote notary. If you think you need an original handwritten signature on your document, you should probably find a notary and have the document notarized in person.

Wills and powers of attorney - Talk to a lawyer before having a will or power of attorney notarized online.

Remote notarizations that are performed by Virginia notaries while you (the signer) are in another state have not had an opportunity to withstand a test of time. PRIA stated in its November 2015 report  "there may be additional legal issues surrounding “remote” notarizations that would need to be resolved by courts and legislatures."

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