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Remote Notary Statute Passed to Facilitate Estate Planning, Other Legal Matters, During Pandemic

While we are all safe at home, a lot of things we took for granted just a few short weeks ago, have had to be sidelined until the current health situation has subsided. One of those things is the ability to go meet with your attorney, without fear of health risk. While we have been undertaking measures to safely execute estate planning documents, exercising distancing while still being in the physical presence of two witnesses and a notary, when required under Massachusetts law, a new statute eases these requirements.

Just yesterday, April 27, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law, a statute that will temporarily allow remote notarization. The Act has certain formalities and requirements of its own. For example, the notary and all signatories must be physically located in Massachusetts at the time of the videoconference, which must be recorded. The signers must show both front and back of satisfactory evidence of identity on the screen, and disclose any persons present in the room at the time of signing and make that person visible to the notary, among other requirements. The original documents must then be sent to the notary for signature and stamping.

If the documents requiring notarization involve real estate transactions must have a secondary videoconference, in which the signatory must declare to be present in Massachusetts, disclose any persons present in the room and make them visible to the notary and verify that the document received by the notary is the same document that was signed during the first videoconference.

All recordings must be maintained for a period of ten years. The Act allowing remote notarization will remain in effect for three business days following the lifting of the state of emergency.

For our clients who would like to sign their estate planning documents during the crisis, our office is equipped and ready to do so. Our drive-in signing protocol is also available for those who still wish to sign in-person.

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The Law Offices of Kimberly Butler Rainen
21 Central Street
Andover, MA 01810

Phone: 978-494-6730
Phone: 978-409-1928
Fax: 978-849-8212
Map & Directions

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We are in a 1700s Colonial located on the intersection between Brook Street, Central Street and Essex Street in historic downtown Andover, Massachusetts. The parking lot entrance is located on Brook Street, which is a one-way. From Central, turn down Essex Street. Before reaching the railroad tracks, when you see the St. Augustine Church on your right, take a sharp left turn on to Brook Street, which will turn you back toward Central Street. As you ascend the hill back toward Central Street, you will see large stone pillars on either side of the entrance to our parking lot. We have assigned parking spaces numbered 7 and 10.

From the parking lot, you may take the stairs located on the rear, left-side of the building up to the garden area, where the foyer entrance to our office is located. You can also follow the sidewalk on Brook Street up to Central Street, walk along Central Street past the main house entrance (with a wrought iron gate across the walk way) to an opening in the wrought iron fence, in to the garden area where the foyer entrance to our office is located.