Reed Smith Client Alerts

With the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses need tools to keep their operations moving while working remotely. This client alert discusses digital tools that may be useful additions to the business continuity toolkit.
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How does RON work? 

A RON platform (such as Notarize and DocVerify) provides services to perform RON, including video access, downloading capabilities for the documents that are to be signed, and an approved authentication process. Each state that allows RON has approved RON platforms within that state. The signer and notary join online for a two-way audio/video session, and the signer begins the identity-proving authentication process, which includes verifying government-issued identification and answering a few identifying questions. After the authentication process is complete, the signer signs the documents and then the notary notarizes the documents electronically (this takes place while each party can see and hear the other). The electronic versions of executed documents are returned to the signer as the originals, and the notary is required to create and keep (generally for five to 10 years) an audiovisual recording of each remote notarization.

Which states allow RON?

Eighteen states have fully implemented RON. Five states have passed a law authorizing RON but the law is not yet in effect. Seven states have introduced a bill. Due to COVID-19, some states that have not implemented RON will nevertheless temporarily permit RON, including New Hampshire (effective March 23, 2020 until the end of the state of emergency), New York (effective March 19, 2020 until April 18, 2020), and Wyoming (effective March 25, 2020 until July 1, 2020). Wisconsin signed a law that would make RON available in the fall of 2020, but due to the current pandemic, accelerated the effective date to March 17, 2020. Also due to COVID-19, the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly recently passed a bill, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, that would allow for RON (with certain restrictions), and Pennsylvania introduced a new bill in the State Senate on March 23, 2020 that would permit RON.