There are many companies springing up looking to make business processes or individual lives much easier. One of these is DuoNotary, an upcoming company looking to revolutionize digital notarization.
With these companies offering such services, the question of legality comes to mind. Are the documents considered legal if they have got a digital notarization? This is where DocuSign comes in as it was one of the first companies that effectively started e-signatures.
DocuSign: Managing Electronic Agreements Legally
DocuSign, founded in 2003, is a business software company that manages electronic agreements. Businesses are going towards simpler and efficient processes to help save time and money. DocuSign does all that by allowing businesses to strike contracts and sign agreements online using their eSignatures.
DocuSign took off fast after it was trialed with a real estate company. The electronic signatures backed by audit logs were acceptable in court laying foundations for electronic agreements. DocuSign now provides its services to more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies listed in the USA and UK.
So, back to the question, can the legality of notarizing documents online be considered legal. In short, yes. But you need to understand UETA.
Uniform Electronic Transactions Act
Companies that offer electronic signature services need to follow the UETA guidelines before their services can be considered legal. UETA is considered effective as of 11 June 2020 in all states besides New York and Illinois.
The legality of E-signatures needed to be established before companies could start offering online notarization services. UETA and E-Sign are two acts that have authorized and made electronic signatures legal in the United States. However, that does not mean that all the states can offer remote notarization services. Currently, only 29 states are allowed legally to offer remote notarization services including Alaska, Ohio, Washington, and more.
In these 29 states, remote notarization services are considered legal but some states like Maryland and Utah require that the notary be physically present in the state of execution.
Remote Notarization In The Wake Of Covid
With the pandemic spreading rapidly across the globe, businesses and organizations are trying their best to adapt to the new environment by maintaining social distancing and making all processes electronic to avoid in-person interaction. Work from home has become a thing with organizations signing up to services enabling such technology to allow their employees to work from home.
Besides the 29 states, other states have implemented emergencies and suspended the need for in-person notarization allowing for notaries to be there using audio-video communication to ensure the legality of remote notarization. This is a great step in the right direction and soon the remaining states will realize that remote notarization is inevitable in making business processes and individual lives simpler. This realization will make them want to adopt newer practices and newer technologies to ensure remote notarization which has now become a need of the hour.
Many believe that the pandemic has a lot to do with how people have started to rely on technology to get their work done more efficiently and remotely. Perhaps, it is time that all the states agree to shift towards remote notarization as a way forward.