Governor Abbott Temporarily Suspends In-Person Requirement for Traditional Notarization

On April 27, 2020, Governor Abbott temporarily suspended the requirement that a notary be physically present for a notarization under Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code §121.006(c)(1).  Traditional in-person notarizations and online notarizations are still available.  This action by Governor Abbott creates a third notarization option – a way to have a no-contact closing without the stringent requirements of an online notarization.  Any Texas notary can perform these emergency remote notarizations – they would not need an online notary license.

This is great news for credit unions looking to implement a no-contact closing without the requirement of partnering with an eClosing provider.

How would this work?

The closing package would be mailed to the member in advance of closing.  At the scheduled closing time, the notary and member would connect via audio/visual software (e.g. facetime, zoom).  The member would present their passport or driver’s license, which contains a photograph and signature of the member.  The video quality must be sufficient for the notary to be able to verify the member’s credentials.

The notarization process would begin with both the notary and member acknowledging they are physically located within the State of Texas.  The member would read the title of each document being signed aloud to the notary before signing the document.  The video must capture the member’s act of signing the document.  

Once signing is complete, the documents would be couriered or mailed back to the notary, who would then affix their signature and seal.  

The notary must record  the audio/visual interaction and keep a record of the audio/video for 2 years.

The notary acknowledgement must include the following statement:
“This notarization involved the use of two-way audio-video communication pursuant to the suspension granted by the Office of the Governor on April 24, 2020, under section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code.”

This option for implementing no-contact closings is available until May 30, 2020, or until the Governor’s disaster declaration ends, whichever is earlier.

Please note, there is still a requirement that 50(a)(6) home equity loans and 50(a)(5) home improvement loans be closed in an authorized location (attorney’s office, title company office or lender’s office).  The Governor’s order does not change this requirement.

If you are interested in setting this up for your credit union, please let us know and we can assist in working through the details.

Governor Abbott’s order may be found here
(https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/Office_of_the_Attorney_General.pdf)

Sincerely,
BairdLaw
242 W. Sunset, Ste. 201
San Antonio, TX 78209
210-828-5844
www.bairdlaw.com