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Missouri Governor issues order temporarily suspending the in- person requirements for notaries during COVID-19 epidemic

Posted on Apr 07, 2020

On April 6, 2020, Missouri Governor Parson finally issued an executive order, making it easier to get documents notarized during the Coronavirus outbreak.  Lawyers have been challenged these last several weeks in their preparation of legal documents, as many of those documents require notarization.  The law in Missouri requires that a person who is signing a document that requires notarization must appear personally before a notary in order for that notarization to be valid.  This has been almost impossible for notaries to accomplish these last few weeks, given the social distancing and stay at home requirements. 

In response to the problem, an Executive Order was signed by Governor Parson on April 6, 2020, temporarily suspending the requirement of a personal appearance before a notary.  Notaries can now use audio-video technology to watch the person sign the document, after which the document must be mailed or transmitted to the notary within five days. The notary can then notarize the document when it is received. There are some additional requirements that must be met for the paper notarization to be valid, and those requirements are:

1.  The notarial certificate must state that the signer appeared remotely pursuant to Executive Order 20-08;

2.  The signer must display a valid photo ID to the notary during the video conference, if the person is not personally known by the notary;

3.  The signer and the notary both must affirmatively represent that they are in the State of Missouri at the time of signing;

4.  The video conference must be a live, interactive audio-visual conference allowing for observation and interraction; and

5.  The notary shall record the exact time of the notarization and state the software used to hold the conference.

In summary, documents can now be notarized during the COVID-19 outbreak without delay, if you use a videoconferencing tool like Zoom, FaceTime, etc.