COVID-19 Resources

New Jersey passes new law to permit remote notarial acts during current health emergency

On April 14, 2020 Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill permitting remote notarial acts for executing and verifying certain documents by notaries public and certain other authorized officials. The new law allows notaries and other authorized officials (such as New Jersey licensed attorneys) to perform notarial acts using communications technology for a remotely located individual. The notarial acts include the taking of oaths, affirmations, and affidavits under N.J.S.A. 41:2-1 or the taking of acknowledgments under N.J.S.A. 46:14-6.1.

In plain language, the new law allows an individual who is not in the physical presence of a notary public or authorized official to appear before a notary or officer using an electronic device or process. The notary public or officer has the obligation confirm the identity of the individual either through personal knowledge, by affirmation of a credible witness or by using at least two different types of identity proofing. Moreover, the notary public or officer must be able to reasonably confirm the record before it is the same record in which the remotely located individual made a statement or on which he or she executed a signature. Finally, the notary or officer or one acting on their behalf must create an audio-visual record of the performance of the notarial act which must be maintained for 10 years.

The law makes clear that it does not apply to records to the extent governed by the Uniform Commercial Code or statutes, regulations or rules governing adoption, divorce or other matters of family law. An earlier draft of the bill also excluded matters related to the creation and execution of wills or codicils, but that was removed from the final bill that was enacted so the new law may be utilized for wills and codicils.

The statute is effective immediately but shall only be effective for a period not to exceed the duration of the current public health emergency declared by the Governor. It will automatically expire upon Governor Murphy’s rescission of his Executive Order 103 of 2020 declaring the public health emergency and state of emergency.

The new law is another example of common sense measures taken by the state during this emergency by allowing people to maintain social distancing while utilizing the services of a notary or officer. It will remain to be seen if the requirement of creating and maintaining an audio-visual record of the notarial act will be considered so burdensome that it will discourage the use of this new method of verifying documents. Moreover, given the electronic age that we now live in, it may seem short sighted in not allowing the statute to remain in force beyond the current emergency.

Mark Greene is Of Counsel with Price, Meese, Shulman and D’Arminio, PC, and concentrates in real estate and municipal zoning law. He can be reached at or 201 391 3737.