Electronic notarization is simply notarizing an electronic document while it's in electronic format.
The same rules for paper notarizations apply for electronic notarization. The signer must be physically present, have the proper identification and the journal entry must be completed.
Certain industries can see significant cost savings due to the ability to transfer electronic documents quickly. Many recording offices and courts and some other countries are now accepting electronic documents.
Understand the Process
There are many technologies that may be used for electronic notarization. Vendors use all types of technology including cloud-based, fingerprinting, digital signing pads and encryption processes.
The basic process is simple:
- The notary and the document signer gather around the notary’s computer.
- The notary screens the signer and the document, and accesses the electronic notarization application.
- The signer signs the document on the computer.
- The notary fills out the certificate and attaches it to the document through the electronic application.
- The notary signs and affixes the stamp (that is, information about the notarial commission) and seals the document with the application.
- The signer signs the notary’s journal, usually as part of the documentation, and then may download the signed and notarized document or transmit it to the appropriate party, such as a county recorder or a court clerk.
Choose a Vendor
Once you decide that electronic notarization suits your needs, you must choose a vendor. The vendor must meet National Electronic Notarization Standards (NENS).
Under OAR 160-100-0140, the notary may rely on a vendor’s declaration that the vendor’s technology meets the NENS. Be sure to keep documentation of the vendor’s declaration in case an issue arises.
It's critical to use a method that provides evidence of tampering if someone alters the signature or notarial certificate after signing.
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