Remote online notarization (RON) in Delaware will soon be permanent. Homebuyers who want to buy or sell property in Delaware will have remote tools to do so with provisions in place laid out by SB 262, which goes into effect in August 1, 2023.
Since a court decision in 2000, only an attorney licensed to practice law in Delaware may conduct a closing related to the sale or refinancing of real property in the state. Following on the court decision, Delaware's Governor Carney issued an executive order authorizing attorneys to conduct video-conference notarizations in 2020.
The new law allows attorneys to continue to perform video-conference notarizations until August 1, 2023. After that date, all state commissioned notaries may conduct remote online notarization.
RON Law in Delaware: A Primer
The new RON law in Delaware outlines certain conditions for remote online notarizations to take place, which include:
Remote Notarization Provider Terms
Before performing their first remote online notarization, a notary public must register with the Delaware Secretary of State and identify the technologies the notary public intends to use.
The notary public must verify the identity the remote individual from personal knowledge or a witness, or by providing a driver’s license or other government identification which contains either a signature or a photograph. A notary may require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to identify the individual.
The notary stamp must include the notary public’s name, the words “State of Delaware,” the commission expiration date and other information required by the Delaware Secretary of State. The stamp must be able to be copied together with the record to which it is affixed or attached or with which it is logically associated.
Video and Journal Retention
The technology provider must retain the visual and audio recording for at least 10 years after the recording is made. The notary must maintain a journal of all notarizations performed, and retain the journal for 10 years. The format of the journal may take either a paper or electronic format.
A remote individual using remote online notarization to buy or sell a property who is currently located outside the United States must be related to a property in the U.S. – or the RON use should involve a matter connected to the U.S. Additionally, RON must not be prohibited in the foreign state in which the individual is physically located.
If the Secretary of State adds further qualifications for identity proofing and the use of communication technology, vendors must adhere to them. The regulations may require technology providers to include antifraud measures that clearly show any change or tampering with a document.
At Stavvy, we’ll continue to keep an eye on the details of this law’s implementation – as well as RON laws in other states – to bring you more information.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2022 and has been updated.
Mike McGregor - Director of Regulatory and Compliance