Trusts and Estates

News from the TEXCOM Chair: Remote Notarization

Greetings from the Executive Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section (TEXCOM). We hope that all Section members and their families have remained safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have heard from many Section members regarding the statewide “stay at home” order, similar local orders, and social distancing guidelines promulgated by health authorities, and the impacts of these (and COVID-19 in general) on professional practices. We know that trusts and estates practitioners are looking for ways to continue to serve their clients—for example, by facilitating changes to estate plans requested by clients—while being temporarily unable to meet personally with clients due to the current public health situation.

TEXCOM is actively working on the issue of remote notarizations in California during the COVID-19 crisis, and worked quickly when the problem arose to draft proposed language for an appropriate executive order or regulation. Loosely based on the New York Executive Order on the same topic, TEXCOM’s proposed language would allow California notaries public to perform notarial acts by videoconference during California’s declared COVID-19 state of emergency, subject to certain requirements.

Representatives of TEXCOM have been in regular contact with legislative staff, the Secretary of State’s office, and other interested stakeholders with regard to remote notarizations. TEXCOM sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s office advocating in favor of temporary authorization to provide remote notarizations during the current state of emergency and proposed language that would govern the provision of these services.

At this point, we cannot speculate as to the likelihood of urgency legislation or an executive order or regulation on these topics, but wanted to assure you that TEXCOM is working to address this problem faced by many Section members and their clients. Of course, we will update you in the event of developments in this area.

Best wishes for the continued safety and health of all Section members and their families and colleagues.

Mark S. Poochigian, TEXCOM Chair
Baker Manock & Jensen, PC
Fresno, California

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