The current pandemic has forced title agents and attorneys to go for online closing and this is how eClosing and Remote Online Notarization (RON) has taken the center stage in the real estate and industry.
While many states have passed bills and legalized eClosing and RON, Mississippi has passed a bill to do so. However, for the time being, the state has issued a list of directives that allows title agencies to conduct remote online notarization. What are these directives and what are the things that you should take into consideration while notarizing closing documents online in Mississippi? Let’s find out. But before we do that, let’s begin with learning about RON first.
What is Remote Online Notarization?
Remote online notarization (RON) is the process of notarizing documents electronically. Using RON, the buyers, sellers, their respective agents, attorney, and other parties sitting at different physical locations can come together to express consent and legally transfer the ownership of the property.
The attorney applies the notary seal that marks the completion of the transaction.
Remote Online Notarization in Mississippi
- According to the order guidance from the secretary of state, title companies must fulfill a list of prerequisites or requirements in order to be eligible to perform RON. These are:
- You must be a currently commissioned notary in Mississippi, in good standing.
- You must notify the Secretary of State, Business Services Division of your intent to use remote notarization technology on our form.
- Using our form, you must identify the communications technology vendor you will use and confirm that the vendor allows you to, (1) view and hear the remotely located principal in real-time; (2) verify the principal’s identity through one or more of the methods set forth in the Order; and (3) record the entire notary transaction.
- For each notarial act conducted remotely, you must create and retain an audio-video recording of the entire notarial act. You must keep this electronic record just as you would your notary journal or logbook.
- For each notarial act conducted remotely, you must note in your notary journal or logbook details about the notarial act, including that the notarial act was conducted for a remotely located principal using communications technology.
- You may charge your normal $5 fee, plus the cost of using the communications technology, not to exceed $25.
Few things to note about RON in Mississippi
The state of Mississippi has laid out a few things that title agencies and attorneys are supposed to note.
- The Governor’s Executive Order is only a temporary waiver of the in-person requirement of the Mississippi Notary Statute and Rules. This is a significant change to notary practices in Mississippi.
- Notaries are encouraged to use a communications technology vendor designed for the purpose of facilitating remote notarizations, as opposed to services that primarily offer video conferencing ability. Such purpose-designed services include the ability to both see and hear a remotely located individual and record the notarial transaction. It is up to each notary to make sure he or she is in compliance with the Governor's Order.
- For additional guidance on available technology, notaries may wish to review the information made available by the National Notary Association www.nationalnotary.org or other professional membership associations.
- In advance of utilizing remote notarization, notaries must give notice to the Secretary of State via email using this form.
- As a commissioned notary, it the legal responsibility of the notary to perform notarizations correctly pursuant to the Mississippi notary statute and Rules.
- You may email any questions about this new process.
Advantages of Remote Online Notarization
There are many advantages of remote online notarization. These are:
eClosing and RON is Safe. One cannot simply change or manipulate the details including the notary seal or signatures of a digital document unlike a physical one. In the current times, RON’s ability to provide social distancing during the closing process also adds to its
Hassle-free experience. RON saves the hassle for buyers and sellers to travel or mail physical copies of documents. This adds to their positive experience.
Saves Money. RON saves cost during title search and redoing physical documents and the paperwork needed in general. It also saves costs for the clients, they otherwise incur in mailing the documents.
If you are a registered notary in Florida and thinking about remote notarization, this may be the right time to go for the training program and become an online notary in Florida.