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Notary Public Underwriters Blog

Alabama Governor's Proclamation (03-26-2020)

Overview:​

  • An Alabama Notary who is a licensed Alabama attorney or who is being supervised by a licensed Alabama attorney may use "videoconferencing programs" to notarize signatures and confirm the signatures of witnesses.
  • Through this process, the Notary requires presence, identifies the principal and any witnesses, observes signatures and administers an acknowledgment or oath/affirmation to the principal signer.  The Notary is observing the principal and any witness(es) sign the tangible (paper) document, which must later be received by the Notary for completion of the notarial certificate.

The following procedures and recommendations are ultimately subject to the directives of the supervising attorney.

Procedures

  1. The Order does not specify whether a non-attorney Notary who must be supervised may be remotely located from the supervising AL attorney.  Nor does it specify whether the principal signer and the witness(es) may be remotely located from each other or physically present together.  Any decisions regarding these questions must be made by the supervising attorney.
  2. The order does not specify the type of real-time/live web connection.  At a minimum, it must provide video (high resolution) and audio and connect all parties together in real-time.
  3. The principal's identification must be verified in the usual manner--personal knowledge or an identification document.  Review identification documents by having the individual hold them up to their web cam.  If the identification cannot be assessed to your (Notary's) satisfaction due to poor video quality, refuse to complete the notarization.
  4. Verify the witness' online presence and identification (personal knowledge or an identification document) as required by the Order. 
  5. Examine the document as for a physical-presence notarization.  Ask that each page of the tangible document be held up to the web camera in order to verify what notarial act is required, the principal signer named in the document, whether witnesses are required, and to check for blanks or missing pages.
  6. Observe the principal’s and witness’ signing of the document.  Administer a verbal acknowledgment or oath/affirmation to the principal, as applicable.
  7. Upon receiving the signed document sometime after the videoconferencing session, complete the notarial certificate.  The certificate must include the date and time of the videoconferencing session in which the notarization was performed.

Additional Recommendations

Completing the certificate:

  1. Venue should be your (Notary's) location at the time of the video conference.
  2. As noted above, include the date and time of the videoconferencing session in which the notarization was performed.

 

Notary records:

  1. Create a record book (journal) entry for the videoconferencing notarization.  If you do NOT usually maintain notarial records, at least do so for these special notarizations.
  2. Add to the record book entry that the notarization was performed using videoconferencing, pursuant to the 4th Supplemental State of Emergency COVID-19 Order by Governor Kay Ivey Dated 3-26-20.
  3. Keep a copy of the Order in your permanent records, and store a copy with every record book containing an entry for a notarization performed under this Order.

 

The content of this post was provided by the American Society of Notaries. ASN is the nation's original non-profit association that exists to provide its members with education, professional service and technical support; promoting high ethical standards; and increasing public awareness of notaries' valuable contributions.