On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed a new law into effect to help during the pandemic. The new law in NJ allows Remote Online Notarization. Unfortunately, the law was not drafted for the purpose of signing estate planning documents… and it shows. Essentially, we can now notarize Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Trusts remotely, but we CAN’T witness them remotely. This is a massive flaw.
The new law requires that documents signed using Remote Online Notarization be recorded. Moreover, there is only a requirement that a recording of the notarization last 10 years. That may be a problem if you die more than 10 years after you sign your Will.
The bill was really intended to assist people more with real estate transfers. So while some last minute lobbying took out the exclusion for Wills, it just doesn’t help much. Accordingly, while we are happy to do a remote notarization for clients, unless there is a real health emergency, we are telling people to simply wait and do things right.
Stay safe and healthy.
A copy of the bill can be found here: https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/r00.3de.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/A3903-1R.pdf. I apologize if it is a little hard to read, but it is a marked up version.