Introduction: What is remote notarization?
The process of notarizing documents electronically rather than in person is known as ‘remote notarization’, whereby individuals can have their documents notarized remotely without the need to meet with a notary public in person.
In order for a remote notarization to take place, the individual who wants to have his documents notarized (or certified) must use a video conferencing platform to connect with a notary public, who will verify their identity and witness the signing of the document.
The notary public then electronically affixes their own seal and signature onto the document, completing the notarization process.
Since Covid-19, remote notarization has become increasingly popular, mainly because it made it difficult for people to meet with notaries in person. A remote notarization is also a useful option for individuals who live in remote areas, and those who are unable to travel long distances in order to meet with a notary. Additionally, individuals who simply prefer the convenience of having their documents notarized remotely are also able to and allowed to use it.
How does ‘remote notarization’ take place?
There are several ways to notarize your documents virtually, these being the main:
- Video conferencing platforms
- RON and RIN (Remote online and remote ink-signed notarization)
- Electronic signatures and seals
One of the most common ways to notarize documents virtually is through video conferencing, where the individual is connected with a notary public via video conferencing software (a platform where both are signed in) and shows the notary their government-issued ID. Some provinces in Canada have adopted remote online notarization laws, which allow notaries to use electronic means to perform notarizations (two-way video and audio communications).
Another way to notarize documents virtually is through electronic signatures and seals, where the individual signs the documents electronically and the notary affixes their ‘electronic seal and signature’ onto the document, confirming its validity.
What are the benefits and challenges of remote notarization?
E-notarization (another term used for remote notarization) is the process of notarizing electronically. That being said, it comes with advantages as well as challenges of its own. Here are a few benefits and challenges:
- Security concerns
- Limited availability
- Dependence on technology
- Certain documents aren’t eligible
An overview of benefits:
Remote notarization allows individuals to have their documents notarized remotely, and this is particularly beneficial for people who live in remote areas, or are unable to travel to meet with a notary. It also increases accessibility for people with disabilities or mobility issues, and is a much more efficient process than traditional in-person notarization. Remote notarization also eliminates the need for travel, which saves time and money both.
An overview of challenges:
Where remote notarization is efficient and less time consuming, it might also be available only in certain provinces, states or territories. It also raises security concerns as there is a risk of identity or notary fraud in online notarizations, and is dependent on technology (so the process is delayed if there are any lags). It also requires a stable internet connection, as technical issues may disrupt the process (being able to see and hear clearly is of utmost importance). Not all documents are eligible for remote notarization, so that is one of the main drawbacks if you’re looking for real estate selling or buying of property.
Remote notarization requires certain technology and that depends on the ‘type of remote notarization’ being performed. Generally, video conferencing software to connect both parties is needed (the individual and the notary public). Examples of popular video conferencing software include Zoom, Skype and Google Meet. The types of electronic signature software needed for signing documents electronically (that can be downloaded to a device or online platforms) include Adobe Sign, DocuSign and HelloSign.
Today, secure document management software is often used to manage notarized documents, and encrypt and protect them with features such as document tracking, version control and even document expiration. Popular examples of secure document management software include Box, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox.
Before starting out, it is important to take note that not all provinces in Canada have adopted a remote notarization process, so it is useful to check with your locality or region in case you have difficulty finding the services. Some provinces, such as British Columbia and Ontario (under which Mississauga falls) have introduced legislation that permits remote notarization. In addition, certain documents might also not be eligible for remote notarization (such as real estate deeds), so it is important to confirm the document ‘type’ with your local notary public before proceeding with the process.
As a leading notary public in Mississauga and Brampton, The Notary Guy consists of a team of professionals dedicated to providing quick, affordable, and reliable notary services. Our experienced notaries will handle your documentation with the utmost care and efficiency, ensuring that your process is seamless and secure. Start your notarization process with us today.