Mississippi is adjusting its notary rules to allow business to happen while at the same time practicing social distancing.
On April 7, 2020, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed an order temporarily modifying the in-person requirements for notarization. Effective immediately and through the State of Emergency period declared by Governor Reeves, Mississippi’s notaries public are authorized to perform notarial acts through two additional means: 1) remote notarization and 2) remote online notarization.
Remote Notarization vs. Remote Online Notarization
Remote notarization means that the notary and the person signing the documents are in separate locations, but the documents will be exchanged by U.S. Mail. This method provides that the person signing the documents will physically sign the original document, witnessed by the notary through a technological vendor. The signee will then mail the original to the notary to affix his or her seal. Remote online notarization means the party signs the document electronically, the notary affixes his or her stamp electronically and the original document is wholly electronic, allowing it to be filed using the court’s electronic filing system. Should the courthouse not have electronic filing, the notary can certify the electronic document into an original that can be filed by paper filing.
For the notarial act to be valid, the notary performing such acts must notify the Secretary of State’s Office of their intent to use remote notarization. This includes identifying the communications technology vendor the notary intends to use. The technology used by the notary must allow the notary to view and hear the remotely located signee, verify the signee’s identity and record the entire transaction. This technology must be designed to facilitate remote notarizations, such as NotaryCam or DocVerify, as opposed to normal video-conferencing technology. Further, the notary must create and retain the audio-video recording of the entire notarial act and keep the entire electronic record just as they would in their notary journal or logbook. The fee associated with performing notarial acts remotely may be higher because the notary may charge a $5 fee, plus the cost associated with using the technology vendor, not to exceed $25.
Should you need any documents notarized during the coronavirus pandemic in Mississippi, the Governor has provided two legally viable alternative methods. It is important to note that these methods are only temporary and only last for the duration of the State of Emergency and 14 days thereafter.