Updated June 8, 2020
Among many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the need to have important personal documents in place and updated, such as wills, trusts and health care proxies. At the same time, social distancing protocols have made in-person notarization of such documents difficult, if not impossible. For these reasons, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a series of executive orders temporarily allowing remote notarization.
New York Remote Notarization
Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.7 on March 19, 2020, and the Guidance to Notaries Concerning Executive Order 202.7 on March 31, 2020, concerning remote notarization. The Executive Order authorized remote notarization through April 18, 2020, by a New York Notary Public. This Order was extended through May 7, 2020, by Executive Order 202.14 and then extended further to June 6, 2020 by Executive Order 202.28. The Order was again extended through July 6, 2020 by Executive Order 202.38. The Notary Public can use Audio-Video Technology to effectively notarize a document as an alternative to the in-person requirement for an individual in New York. Once the document is notarized, the individual must electronically transmit or fax the executed document to the Notary Public that same day. Unlike Connecticut’s similar law, New York does not require the transaction to be recorded.
Execution of Will, Lifetime Trust, Power of Attorney Statutory Gift Rider, Health Care Proxy, and Form of Disposition of Remains
Executive Order No. 202.14, issued on April 7, 2020, provides for remote witnessing using Audio-Video Technology. The Witnesses can use Audio-Video Technology to effectively witness a document as an alternative to the in-person requirement for an individual in New York. Once the document is witnessed, the individual must electronically transmit or fax the executed signature page to the Witnesses that same day. This rule was in place through May 7, 2020 but then extended further to June 6, 2020 by Executive Order 202.28. The Order was again extended through July 6, 2020 by Executive Order 202.38.
Executive Order No. 202.14 also provides that a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or primary caretaker who works or volunteers in a health care facility or who reasonably believes that they may otherwise be exposed to COVID-19 can designate a standby guardian to care for his or her child in the event of death or incapacity.