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September 20, 2012

What can an e-notary do?

What can an e-notary do? 

An e-notary does more or less what a regular notary does. The difference is that the e-notary has an electonic journal and electronic notary seal and notarizes electronic documents.  Some might even have an electronic girlfriend too!  So, the biggest matter of confusion is that people don’t understand that the signer has to appear before the e-notary. It is unclear if personal appearance will always be necessary in the future though.  At one point, we read that Arizona e-notaries could notarize without personal appearance of the signer, but now they require it and the evidence of the old rule is gone!
The basic procedure for mobile e-notaries
So, basically, a mobile e-notary will go to a signer’s house, the signer will login to a website, sign some electronic documents, the notary will login and apply his/her e-seal, and have the signer sign the e-journal, and that is that.  You will have to visit face to face with the signer just like now.
Will our lives change?
It looks like we might have to lug around digital signature pads in about 20 years when this technology gets popular.  When you go to the supermarket, you are doing digital signatures right now, so you are already used to it!  It looks like our lives will not be altered in any significant ways.

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The pros and cons of eNotarizations


June 11, 2012

Which states allow e-notarizations?

What states allow e-notarizations or e-notaries?
The status of being an electronic notary is a very new and very misunderstood profession or office.  To be an e-Notary, so you can do e-Notarizations, is often a completely different type of commission in many states.  Another fact to understand is that e-Notarizations can not (or can not always) be done for Deeds or other documents that effect real property.  The biggest issue that bothers notaries about e-Notarizations is that the signer doesn’t always have to appear before the notary to receive an e-Notarization.  The first time a signer is notarized, they should appear before the notary, but in some states, the subsequent e-notarizations  may or may not require physical presence. 
e-Notarizations require the use of an electronic journal (ENJOA).  The signature of the signer would go in that journal.
An e-signing is normally done with a physical journal and done in the presence of a notary public.  The documents might be signed online, or at least most of them signed online. However, the signer woudl still appear before the notary public and sign a physical journal of notarial acts.
Here are the states that currently allow e-notarizations. The rules for e-Notarizations might be very different from state to state.
California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


March 15, 2012

Electronic Notary Journal Information

Electronic Notary Journal Information 

It is legal and possible to become an e-notary (electronic notary) in many states.  All electronic notaries need an e-journal or electronic journal, and e-seal (electronic seal), and online e-documents to notarize.  Please note that personal appearance of the signer is required, so you can not do any remote notarizations using this technology according to current notary laws in 2011 / 2012.
The NNA used to be one of the most robust organizations at promoting e-notarizations, but they abandoned their ENJOA electronic journal program back in 2009.  They might still have information about where to point you, but it is unclear at this time.  Although the concept of e-notarizations and e-notaries is very interesting, hardly any notaries are actually commissioned to do this type of work.
Here is a site that sells Notary Journal Software for e-notarizations
There was another site called the notary shop, but their site didn’t pull up.
You are also encouraged to ask your state notary division where they recommend getting an electronic journal if you are already an e-notary.
Here is a list of states that we do NOT have information about in terms of e-notarizations.  We assume these states don’t allow e-notarizations.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.


December 17, 2011

California e-notary rules

Current 2011 / 2012 California e-notary rules
California requires the signer to appear before the notary public for all notary acts — electronic or not.  Documents that can be electronically notarized in California include: substitution of trustee, assignments of a deed of trust, and reconveyance deeds.  These must be submitted to the county clerk via a trusted submitter. An electronic seal may be used for these transactions online.  California Civil code 1633.11 states that an electronic signature carries the same legal effect as a physical signature made by a pen. 
Purely online notarization services are not legal in California.  You may not notarize someone using a web-cam, etc.  That doesn’t constitute personal appearance. The signer must be within several feet of the notary and clearly visable to the notary.
§ 1633.11. Notarization and signature under penalty of perjury requirements
(a) If a law requires that a signature be notarized, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature to be notarized, the electronic signature of a notary public together with all other information required to be included in a notarization by other applicable law.

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The pros and cons of eNotarizations

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e-notarization definition


November 21, 2011

Notary Public Virginia e-notary Rules

Notary Public Virginia e-notary rules

The information in this blog entry is based on information derived from the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Notary Division website on the page indicated above.

Here are a few quick notes about Virginia e-notary rules
(1) Signers must personally appear before a Virginia e-notary to get an e-notarization.
(2) A separate registration or commission is necessary to be a Virginia e-notary, and the same exact name variation must be used on both commissions.
(3) There is no additional education required to become an e-notary in Virginia beyond the education required to become a conventional notary.  However, you are advised to be an expert on the Virginia notary handbook and to educate yourself and be trained in the electronic process of notarization. 
(4) There is a quick application form to become an e-notary in Virginia, and the form is on the Secretary of State’s website — use the link above.
(5) A Virginia electronic notary commission expires when your regular notary commission expires.
(6) The state of Virginia can produce electonic evidence that an e-notarization is authentic with a certificate of authority. Please see the official wording of this certificate near the bottom of this entry. There is a fee for this certificate as with any other authentication.
(6) The Virginia Notary Division (c/o Secretary of the Commonwealth) gives some of the most comprehensive information about being an e-notary of any of the states.  Once the e-seal is affixed to the electronic document, the document is rendered tamper evident as unauthorized attempts to alter a document will be evident and obvious to involved parties.  This statement is very interesting. Many of us fear the e-notarization process as we fear it might be less secure as we don’t understand it or feel accustomed to it. But, in reality, paper documents are easy to tamper with, while secure e-documents might not be so easy to tamper with.
The Virginia e-notarization process: step by step
(1) The signer signs their electronic signature on an electronic document, and then signs the notary’s e-journal. 
(2) The notary affixes their electonic seal and signature to the electronic document after it has been signed.  

Note: An e-signature might start with you logging in with a password, and then clicking a submit or accept button.  (Digital signature pads are also sometimes used – but weren’t mentioned in the information on the page we linked to above)
The future requirement of personal appearance
Personal appearance is currently required for e-notarizations, but the state says, “At present, yes” to this requirements and says, “not yet” for taking acknowledgments via audio/video conferencing which implies that one day personal appearance might not be required.
Certificate of Authority for an Electronic Notarial Act
I, __________________ (name and title), certify that _________________(name of electronic notary), the person named as Electronic Notary Public in the attached or associated electronic document, was commissioned as an Electronic Notary for the Commonwealth of Virginia and authorized to act as such at the time of the document’s electronic notarization.
To verify this Certificate of Authority for an Electronic Notarial Act, I have included herewith my electronic signature this ______ day of ___________, 2011
(Electronic signature and seal of commissioning official)


November 27, 2010

e-notarization definition

e-Notarizations and e-Signings
e-notarization definition
An e-notarization is a notary act done purely online. The signer would not actually come into contact with the notary in many cases. Each state has different rules for e-notarizations, so learn your state’s rules if you want to do this. An online journal (ENJOA) would be used to record the transaction as well. e-notarizations would never be used for deeds effecting real property since those types of documents are very critical and involve high dollar figures. An e-signing is different from an e-notarization. Many states allow e-notarizations, but you generally need to get a special commission separate from your regular notary commission to be an e-notary.

e-signing definition

An e-signing is different from an e-notarization. E-signings are electronic loan signings where the notary visits the borrower’s home or meets the borrowers at a mutually agreeable location. The signer is present before the notary during an e-signing. Some or all of the documents in an e-signing are signed online while the remaining documents might be physical paper documents. The journal used in an e-signing would be a bound and sequential physical paper journal. e-notarizations are different from e-signings because the signer doesn’t actually appear before the notary in an e-notarization, and the journal in an e-notarization is electronic, and not physical.


Colorado Notary e-notarization
Arizona Electronic signatures
e-Signings and e-Notarizations


(1) edelske (forum member) claims that:

 e-signings are really slow and that the savings on printing costs do not compensate for the time consumed waiting for pages to load on your laptop.

(2) LindaH states in a forum post:

E-signings are a process where the mortgage documents are signed online at the lender’s website. You either have your laptop w/ aircard & internet connection or you use the borrowers’ computer (provided they have one and they have stable internet service) . You access a remote site, review some documents online with them and they sign by clicking on a button (the borrowers’ digital signature with the lender is set up ahead of time). If your state does not accept e-recordings, you will still need to print those docs that need to be notarized as they are “wet” signatures – and sometimes you need to print a copy for the borrower … oh, and maybe print an extra set of documents “just in case” the internet connection fails or there are issues with the website. The beauty of e-signings for the lender is that changes to docs can be made at the table, thereby avoiding no-signs…HUDs and TILs can be changed and re-delivered virtually immediately – so if your borrower doesn’t have a computer, be prepared to print table so they‘re provided copies of revised docs!! (So, IMO, in addition to carrying your briefcase with your standard equipment, you’ll now need to carry laptop with aircard AND laser printer)..

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12 points on e-notarizations

Everything you need to know about journals

Arizona notary laws vs. other states

e-Notarization and ENJOA discussion on the forum