by Martin Pringle attorney Jeff Pike
While COVID-19 continues to reshape virtually every aspect of society, industries are attempting to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances as best as possible. Many industries, including the legal industry, are being forced to part from traditional norms and use technology in ways that they never have before. In order to keep business flowing as much as possible during this period of uncertainty, many states have enacted measures allowing for Remote Online Notarization, or “RON.” Kansas and Missouri have now joined that list. RON has become a useful tool to protect the safety of notaries, attorneys, and individuals who may need key documents notarized in the midst of this current global pandemic. Estate planning documents like wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney in particular have notary requirements.
While the exact requirements for proper RON vary from state to state, RON is essentially the use of audio or visual technology to complete a notarization where the notary and the signer of the document are not in the same physical place. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, some states passed legislation allowing for RON as an effort to simply catch up with modern society. Now that the majority of Americans are under stay at home orders, the need for RON has become exponentially greater as there’s still a demand for the services of notaries during this time. In order to deal with this dilemma, governors of several states which didn’t previously allow for RON have issued executive orders allowing for RON temporarily until this crisis ends. The governors of both Kansas and Missouri have issued such executive orders approving the use of RON temporarily during this pandemic.
On April 9, 2020 Governor Laura Kelly issued Kansas Executive Order 20-20 which allows a notary to use RON through May 1, 2020 or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency proclaimed on March 12, 2020 relating to COVID-19 expires, whichever is earlier. Under this executive order, a notary can perform a remote notarization via two-way audio-video communication technology as long as both the notary and the signer are both physically located in Kansas and the notary is able to identify the signer from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence. The executive order also allows for the use of two-way audio-video communication technology to witness the signing of documents as required by Kansas law. Additional requirements are set out in the executive order itself. To view the full text of Kansas Executive Order 20-20, click here.
Missouri Executive Order 20-08, enacted on April 6, 2020, allows for the use of RON through May 15, 2020 so long as certain conditions are met. Most importantly, technology that allows for a live video conference between the notary and signer which “allows for observation, direct interaction, and communication at the time of signing” must be used. Additionally, both the notary and signer must still be located in Missouri and the signer must show the notary a valid photo ID if the notary isn’t personally familiar with the signer. To view the full requirements of a proper notarization under Missouri Executive Order 20-08, click here.
Martin Pringle attorneys will continue to monitor the status of both Kansas Executive Order 20-20 and Missouri Executive Order 20-08. If you have any questions about these executive orders, or notarization in general, Martin Pringle attorneys are available to consult at any time.See All COVID-19 News