To help our clients navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Keane & Beane is providing numerous Legal Alerts on a variety of issues. The information contained in this Legal Alert is applicable as of today, March 20, 2020. Many situations are so fact specific and nuanced that this Legal Alert only addresses some of the more pressing ongoing issues. The discussion below is therefore general and does not address all considerations and specific analyses that may need to be undertaken prior to taking action.
In a further effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, effective Saturday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing for documents to be notarized virtually using audio-video technology, which is a necessary step to keep business moving for both the real estate and banking industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full text of Executive Order 202.7 can be accessed here. In summary —
- Any notarial act that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:
- The person seeking the Notary’s services, if not personally known to the Notary, must present valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
- The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
- The person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of New York;
- The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed;
- The Notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person; and
- The Notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.
This procedure provides a safe way for New Yorkers to have deeds, affidavits and powers of attorney executed outside of office conferences with counsel. Of course, this Executive Order does not change the statutory procedures which need to be followed for the proper execution of Wills in New York and it remains to be seen if the rules regarding Will execution will be changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior Keane & Beane Covid-19 Legal Alerts
Keane & Beane, P.C. has prepared several Legal Alerts concerning the State’s response to COVID-19 and the impacts on local governments. Our Legal Alerts are available at the links below:
- Force Majeure Clauses and the Coronavirus
- Executive Order 202.4 – COVID-19: Reduction in Workforce By Municipalities
- Open Meetings Law Considerations in Light of COVID-19
- Updates From Governor’s March 16, 2020 Press Conference
- Governor’s Executive Order Prohibits Municipalities from Unilaterally Issuing Emergency Orders in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak
- President Trump Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- New York Enacts Law Providing Job Protection and Pay for New Yorkers Quarantined as a Result of COVID-19
Consult Counsel Regarding Specific Questions
Given the fluidity of this rapidly developing situation, we encourage you to reach out to a member of the Keane & Beane Trust and Estates Practice Group with questions regarding specific situations. We note that there are legislative developments in Congress and New York which impact each of these questions, and which we are closely monitoring. Because of the frequent developments, you should consult counsel regarding specific questions. For questions on trust and estates issues contact our Trust and Estates Practice Group.