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On April 10, 2020 the Maryland Secretary of State (SoS) issued Revised Guidance on interpreting Governor Hogan’s March 30, 2020 Executive Order authorizing Remote Notarization. The clarification because necessary, in part, to respond to queries as to whether platforms of certain technology vendors met the SoS requirements for use by Maryland notaries. The most prevalent question was whether the video communications platform Zoom was acceptable for use by notaries. On Zoom, the answer is no. In the Guidance the SoS states: “Currently, Zoom cannot be used because of security concerns. If a notary uses a communication technology platform primarily designed for video-conferencing, the vendor must be a United States company that has been lawfully operating in the United States for at least three years.”

Further, there had been confusion among legal practitioners, title companies, and notaries, as to the specific technology and procedural requirements of notaries under the Executive Order and (original) Interpretive Guidance. On this issue, the SoS updated guidance states:

“The platform must permit the notary to meet all of the requirements in the Governor’s Order, including but not limited to the following:
           a. The notary must ensure the audio-visual communication used to witness the signing of the document is recorded and retained;
           b. After signing the document, the signer must immediately transmit the signed document to the notary;
           c. Upon receiving the document, the notary must immediately complete the notarization, indicating on the certificate of the notarial act and in a journal that the individual                was not in the physical presence of the notary public and the notarial act was performed using a communication technology; and
           d. Upon completing the notarization, the notary must immediately transmit the notarized document back to the signer.”

Further reference:

Governors Executive Order (3.30.2020)

MSBA Original Blog on Remote Notarization (3.30.2020)