Breaking News: Remote Notarization and Witnessing Valid in Maine During COVID-19 Emergency

Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order on April 8 authorizing remote notarization and witnessing of legal documents like Last Wills and Testaments, Financial Powers of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directives. We will continue to offer “drive-thru” signings in our parking lot with the required social distancing, but you now have the option of signing your documents by two-way audio-visual communication instead. We can help you with the technology and will guide you through the process. The April 8 Order requires that the remote signings be through direct, contemporaneous interaction by sight and sound and in real time between the individual signing the document (the “signatory”) and the Notary Public and any witnesses. For Wills and Powers of Attorney, the Notary or at least one witness must be an attorney licensed to practice law in Maine. The Order includes short and strict time frames for circulation of the documents for necessary witnesses’ and Notary’s signatures after signed by the signatory. The notarization will be deemed to have occurred when the Notary witnessed the signature by the signatory, and the Notary must add the following language below the Notary and or Witness signature lines: "Notarized (and/or Witnessed) remotely, in accordance with Executive Order 37 FY 19/20.” This Order takes effect April 8 and, unless sooner amended or rescinded, terminates 30 days after the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency. For other details, here is the Order: Executive Order 37 FY 19/20.