October 29, 2020
Gov. Wolf Signs Philadelphia Bar Association-Backed Remote Notary Legislation
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a Philadelphia Bar Association-backed bill that allows for remote notarization of legal documents. The law goes into effect immediately.
House Bill 2370 also describes the circumstances under which a Pennsylvania notary may notarize a document for a remotely located person using communication technology. The new law will further the modernization of the notarization process, which has been among the Association’s legislative priorities.
Scott S. Small, chair of the Association’s Probate and Trust Law Section, says passage of the legislation is an example of the need to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic bringing about needed permanent changes to Pennsylvania law.
“By allowing the requirement of personal appearance before a notary to be accomplished via readily available electronic communications technology, the ability to conduct business and financial transactions over long distance is dramatically enhanced,” Small says.
He noted, however, that the law is written and geared toward notaries, not attorneys. The law does not address whether a witness may participate in signing remotely, and the law does not make any amendments to the Probate Estates and Fiduciaries Code – the law that governs Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney, Small says.