How Remote Online Notary Came To Our Rescue in an Extraordinary Year

2020 hasn’t been an ordinary year by any standards. In fact, those of us who have lived through the shock, trauma, and the general sense of hopelessness due to the pandemic isn’t likely to forget this year anytime soon. It would be hard to recall anything in living memory when we wanted a year bid adieu without adding to our collective suffering. As we count the final days of the year it is time to reflect on how technology came to our rescue. The COVID-19 crisis without doubt has forced us to rely on technology in different spheres of our life and many of them for the good which is likely to stay with us for years to come. 

Think of notarization and today when you are locked up in your homes, you can access this service from anywhere. Remote online notary services have facilitated millions of closings that would have otherwise had to be delayed. Thanks to a remote online notary it has now become possible to legally notarize your documents from anywhere in the world in as little as five minutes. For many who were forced to use this service for the very first time in 2020, it was a pleasant surprise how fast and efficient the entire process is. Irrespective of your location and the time of the day, online notaries have been serving the masses professionally. 

The year that changed everything…

23 states had legalized Remote Online Notarization by the end of 2019 but even with that number the acceptance and use of these services were limited. While millions of people were aware of these services very few would prefer to get their documents and signatures notarized using the services of a remote online notary. There were several myths floating around these services with many even questioning the legality of the entire process. Face-to-face interaction with a notary public, notarizing documents in a traditional way was a preferred option for the vast majority. Then came 2020 and now we can surely say the rest is history. 

As the first COVID-19 outbreak struck the US as many as 19 more states that include the likes of Florida, North Dakota, and Texas were forced to enact emergency measures to enable RON. With lives at stake and people’s movements severely restricted those who have been sitting on the fence and watching other states experiment with RON were forced out of their comfort zones to realize the benefits of remote online notary services. The day isn’t far away when all the states and territories in the United States would legalize remote online notary through legislation. 

It might come as a surprise to many but there was stiff opposition from within the system to discredit the use and benefits of Remote Online Notarization prior to this health crisis. But the restrictions that were put in place since the initial outbreak forced everyone from mortgage lenders to county recording clerks and insurance companies to wake up to the ‘New Normal’ and get off their comfortable chairs in expediting rules that allow the use of remote online notarization closings. There were strict guidelines always in place to prevent the forgery but it took the might of a small virus for many within and outside the system to wake up to the benefits of remote online notary services. 

Getting it done remotely…

While the pandemic may have forced people to use Remote Online Notarization (RON), the benefits of this online delivery mode haven’t surely escaped anyone’s attention. Consider this with RON banks, title companies, and law firms that can close important transactions that require signatures and notary seal remotely with the aid of technology. Not all parties have to be under the same roof at the same time, not to forget the immense planning and logistic challenge this involved in the past. It comes as a nasty surprise that there were objections to this delivery medium in the past where people were forced to drive miles, take leave from other important tasks to get their documents notarized. Surely some vested interests were at play but society as a whole allowed some people to hijack over our logical thought process for far too long. 

The myth around forgery stands demolished…

Though remote online notary services are almost a decade old reality, it had been a victim of a well-crafted misinformation campaign. From within the industry and among the lawmakers the myth of forgery had many takers. After all it sounds quite easy to forge signatures or documents when there is no physical interaction between the notary and the signer. The only problem here is that these doubters never really cared to understand how the technology around us has helped in preventing forgery more than it has been used for illegal activities.  

To put things straight during Remote Online Notarization the closing documentswhich are signed electronically cannot be tampered with. The whole process of electronic signing is recorded using state-of-the-art encryption technology and this helps in preventing forgery. Unlike physical signing of documents that often don’t leave behind any trail, there is a detailed log of the entire process which can help in preventing forgery further. The electronically signed documents are stored in secured servers and easily retrievable in electronic format for years. 

Thankfully today’s notarization closings no longer require the public notary and the signer to be present in the same room and exchange their customary handshakes. They can be sitting in the opposite ends of the country or be separated by a day and night on different ends of the planet and yet documents can be notarized in few minutes complete with electronic seal and signatures. A remote online notary is here to stay as people who have used these services in the year gone by have got firsthand experience of the ease and the benefits. While a small section of the naysayers are still talking about going back to the traditional way once this pandemic is over, it sounds slightly difficult to bring back the dinosaurs!