I thought documents had to be notarized in-person. What changed?
COVID-19 has certainly made it more challenging for clients to sign legal documents, especially documents that have to be notarized, such as deeds, affidavits, etc. Previously, notarization had to be done in-person. The good news is that Ohio now allows for online notarization.
In March 2019, the Ohio Legislature enacted S.B. 263, the Notary Public Modernization Act, which allows specially registered notary publics to notarize documents through an online audio/video process. In September 2019, the Ohio Secretary of State enacted guidelines for the new process.
Can I just go to a regular notary public?
No, not all notary publics are authorized to provide online notary services. Persons interested in becoming an online notary public must complete a course through the Ohio Secretary of State, pass an examination, file an application, and obtain approval.
What do I need to be able to have a document notarized online?
- You must be a U.S. citizen with a valid photo ID.
- You must have access to email.
- You must have audio/video capabilities (computer, tablet, or smartphone).
- You must have a smart phone for the ID verification process.
- You must be able to navigate and use the video conferencing program Zoom.
What does the online notarization process look like?
- Our online notary public will create a transaction in SIGNiX by entering the client’s name, email address, and uploading the document(s) to be signed in PDF form.
- Next, the document(s) will get tagged with tasks for both the client and our notary to complete, including: reading the document, designating the place for electronic initials, checking off a box, typing a printed name, date, signature, and notary seal.
- The meeting then gets scheduled, and SIGNiX will send the client two emails, one to notify him/her that there are documents to view and sign via link, and another with a link to join the Zoom conference. The client must enter the Zoom conference prior to clicking on the link to view the document(s), because all signings must be recorded from start to finish.
- The client will join our notary in the Zoom conference, along with any other individuals who need or desire to be present.
- Once it is clear that the audio/video is working and screen sharing has been activated, the client will click on an email link to enter SIGNiX. The client will then temporarily deactivate screen sharing to enter his/her social security number and complete the ID verification process.
- Next, the client will enter his/her cell phone number and will be texted a link to upload a picture of the front and back of his/her photo ID and take a selfie.
- Screen sharing will be reactivated, and the client will be able to view the document(s) and complete the tagged tasks.
- Once the client is finished, our notary will receive an email notification and active her screen sharing with the client while she completes her assigned tasks and places her electronic notary seal.
- The transaction is then completed, and the document, audit trail, audio/video recording, and notary journal are made available to our notary for download.
* We recommend you review this short 3-minute video for more insight.
Interested in our online notary services? Contact us!
Our office is pleased to be able to offer our clients online notary services. If you are unable to come in for an in-person signing due to distance, health concerns, of scheduling conflicts, contact us to arrange for online notarization at (740) 452-8484!