A Texas law allowing documents to be notarized online took effect on July 1 and eventually could be useful in speeding up real estate closings and other transactions, says Marc Markel, a Houston-based real estate lawyer with Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC.
“The idea isn’t brand new. Electronic signatures have been around for years. Now a notary public can be in a different location from the person seeking notarization,” Mr. Markel said.
“However, there are more steps required for a signature to be notarized online. The identity of the person seeking the notarization must be verified, and there must be two-way video of the notarization and documentation of the notary act.
“Unfortunately, some counties are not yet on board and will not accept the online notarized document for recording. Also, not all lenders are prepared for this process and it’s unclear when some federally insured loan backers will accept online notarization. Add to this the fact that title companies seem to have adopted their own set of qualifiers for the notary, including the requirement that the notary maintain an errors and omissions insurance policy.”
Mr. Markel, who is Board Certified in both Residential and Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, sums it up this way: “It will take awhile to work out the kinks. In the meantime, if everyone in your real estate transaction is not on board, stick to traditional methods.”
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