Using Online Notary Publics During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Social distancing requirements across the country have forced us to adapt quickly to new methods of executing what previously seemed like simple tasks. With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Houston on a daily basis, more and more members of our community are opting for remote or online options when conducting their notary service needs. Because your personal and familial health and well being is a priority during this challenging time, the last thing anyone needs is a lengthy, complicated, and burdensome process when taking care of notary-related logistics. Yet, while now is a good time to work on a Houston estate plan, many estate planning documents require notarization services.

In Texas, information about using an online notary or becoming an online notary public is available through the Texas Secretary of State’s webpage. Online notary publics are public servants who are commissioned by the state as traditional notary publics but also have the authority to perform notarizations online using a two-way video or audio conference. To successfully get a Houston notary public to perform an online notarization of your files, the notary needs to be physically located within the state of Texas at the time of notarization, but the signing party or principal can be located anywhere.

Similar to typical in-person operations, Houston online notary publics are also required to maintain a secure electronic record of the documents notarized and ensure that there is proper credential analysis and identity proofing even with an online, socially distanced format. Records are kept by online notaries for five years from the date of the notarization of the documents and serve to protect you as the client. Additionally, notary publics are required to check the validity of government-issued identification and identity. With these extra security and safety checks in place, utilizing an online notary for your documents is as easy and safe as it was prior to social distancing measures were put in place.

As Houstonians adjust to the new changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, luckily online notary services are still accessible and share many of the same policies and procedures as regular in-person services, with some changes. For clients seeking to have estate planning documents notarized in these times of uncertainty, this process can be complex or confusing as new changes and updates are rolled out every day during the pandemic. This is why it is recommended potential signing parties and clients seek out experienced individuals who can ensure that the policies and procedures mandated by the state of Texas are adhered to when notarizing your documents so that no issues may arise in the future.

Do You Need Assistance with Houston Estate Planning Services?

If you or someone you know has Houston estate planning needs, you should contact the attorneys at McCulloch & Miller. The lawyers at our firm have years of experience collectively guiding Texans through various estate planning services. We assist Texas clients in a variety of settings, including estate planning, special needs planning, elder law, and veterans law. Contact our office today at 713-333-8900 for a consultation and to discuss your specific estate planning needs.

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