5 questions about Remote Online Notarization in 2021: introducing US Legal Forms’ integration with Notarize

US Legal Forms partners with Notarize - 5 questions about remote online notarization answered

US Legal Forms, the leading provider of state-specific legal forms on the Internet, has announced its partnership with Notarize, the pioneer and market leader in Remote Online Notarization (RON), to offer a complete legal documents solution for its users. The latest US Legal Forms and Notarize integration allows users to easily download, print, and now also notarize over 85K industry-specific legal forms and form packages valid across all 50 U.S. states, saving on time and money.

We sat down with Pat Kinsel, CEO of Notarize, to learn how the Remote Online Notarization landscape has changed in 2021 and what to look for in the latest US Legal Forms and Notarize integration.

First, a little about Notarize:

Notarize is a digital trust provider – a platform that integrates technology with live human interaction to establish identities. We offer digital identity proofing and authentication services, including a market-leading notary public platform to allow any person or organization to get their documents notarized online, 24/7. Our mission is to help people execute the most important transactions of their lives and make notarizations more convenient, secure, authenticated, integrity-preserving, and non-repudiable. Our goal is trust in a digital age through protected online services and transactions.

Tell us more about Notarize for those new to Remote Online Notarization (RON).

Remote online notarization is a fully digital experience that mirrors the traditional notarial act. A signer appears before a notary on a video call, and together, they complete, sign, and notarize the uploaded document. Each video session is recorded and retained along with an audit trail of the transaction.

Signers only connect with a notary after completing several additional security measures, including personal identity challenge questions and credential analysis of their government-issued ID. These features help strengthen the notarial act.

Notarize is the first notary public platform to allow any person or business to get their documents legally notarized online, 24/7.

With more than 1.25 billion notarizations in the U.S. annually, there’s a real opportunity to digitize those processes. Tell us about the most common reasons why people are turning to online notarization (what forms are the most common)? What industries is it most relevant for?

A standard notarization requires individuals to appear physically before a commissioned notary public where they must demonstrate proof of identity, sign (or acknowledge their signature on) a document, and, if their document requires a sworn statement, be placed under oath.

Online notarizations are very much the same, with the following additional benefits for the digital environment and the COVID-era social distancing regulations:

1) your requirement to appear in person before the notary is accomplished via a live audio-video call between you and a commissioned notary, and Notarize makes notaries available 24/7. 

2) you and the notary complete your respective portions of the document electronically

3) in lieu of a physical stamp, the notary’s electronic seal and digital certificate are attached by the notary to your document. When complete, you may print your notarized document or share it via electronic means, and you may access a video recording of the transaction.

Notarization enabled by Notarize offers other significant advantages that validate and secure your document, which makes it a preferred method over in-person notarization. The notarial session is recorded to protect against identity theft and to create a secure record of the entire process. In accordance with governing statutes and rules, Notarize attaches an x.509 PKI (public key infrastructure) security certificate to each notarized document. This certificate makes the document “tamper evident,” so that the document then indicates if any subsequent change has been made to it. The digital certificate is unique to each notary and is part of the tools used to confirm the validity of the document and the authority of the notary public.

Notarize completed the first online mortgage closing in 2017 so Real Estate and Title were a natural start for us and we are happy to serve a variety of businesses in those industries. Now, we’re excited to expand partnerships in new industry verticals like Legal, Finance, Insurance, Automotive, and Government. Some common documents that require notarization include but are not limited to Power of Attorney, Jurats, Acknowledgements, Affidavits, Guardianship, and Promissory Notes. Trusted by the industries we partner with, Notarize was the first platform approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and countless title underwriters and national banks. We’ve chaired the standards setting groups for the Mortgage Bankers Association, American Land Title Association, and others.

How secure is online notarization and how does Notarize ensure users’ data stays confidential?

RON via Notarize is incredibly secure from both hackers and other tampering.

Notarize’s application development team has extensive experience building bank-grade, highly secure software systems. The data is transmitted and stored using industry-best data security practices. For example, all user communications are encrypted and all data at rest (such as documents) are protected using industry-specified encryption protocols such as AES-256. All application accesses are also tracked using an audit trail. Notarize’s security policies and systems are audited and tested on a regular basis. These include audits of internal security procedures and protocols, and also comprehensive penetration testing of our software and hardware environments to provide risk assessments of our applications and associated data.

Online notarizations completed by notaries on the Notarize platform offer an unprecedented level of security and verifiability. We ensure the integrity of all documents in two key ways:

  1. All documents notarized on our platform are digitally signed by the notary using a special x.509 digital certificate issued to the notary (after a rigorous identity security process). Once our notary’s digital certificate is applied to a document, it creates what’s called a digital “hash,” which is like a hidden record of all the bits and bytes comprising the document. If any component of the document is later changed, no matter how small, the document will show that it’s been changed (or tampered with) after the digital signature was applied. This enables all users to confirm that they are looking at the original document as originally signed and notarized. This digital signature information can be found and is readily viewable in the “signature pane” whenever you view a PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. We store a digital record of every notarization in a password-enabled “verification portal” where the customer and any legally authorized recipient can access a digital copy of the original notarized document along with key transactional information about the notarization itself. We also store the video of the notarization session, showing both the notary and the signer as the document is notarized, to deter fraud and provide a secure record of the entire transaction.
What are some of the most notable updates to RON legislation that the Notarize team deems as noteworthy for RON users?

Talk about the new SECURE Act Nationwide. Excerpt from our PR:

There’s an exciting new bill that was introduced earlier this year at the national level, The SECURE Notarization Act of 2021 (S. 625) that proposes remote online notarization (RON) become permanent practice across the U.S. Since Notarize pioneered the technology in 2015, RON has been a transformative technology that digitized the notarial act, but the pandemic accelerated the need for its universal acceptance across the US.

To-date, 34 states have passed remote online notarization (RON) legislation and in the early days of the pandemic, others authorized temporary remote notarization measures to keep an integral piece of business and everyday life functional to allow businesses and consumers to continue to operate as normally as possible. If the bill is passed at the national level, it will allow remote notarizations to be more widely accepted and allow for any licensed notary across the country to utilize RON.

Notarize continues to work with regulators and legislators in States to educate on the different types of notarizations, including why RON is the most secure and safe for the consumer, notary and integrity of the notarial act. Notarize also works at a grassroots level to build relationships and trust with industry and organizations to ensure we are working with what works best for their community and state. We believe in partnership and want to work with communities to ensure this digital service is available to all who want to use it.

Today we announced the partnership with Notarize and US Legal Forms to offer our users notarization capabilities. Can you talk about that and tell us how it’s going to help users?

The accessibility to legal forms that US Legal Forms has brought to individuals and businesses is a natural fit for us as we seek to make online notarizations accessible to everyone. The ease of use in downloading a legal form, combined with the accessibility of having that form notarized online with Notarize will foster the ease of use, time savings, and cost effectiveness of the entire document selection and execution process.

How have you seen COVID-19 accelerate the need for digital transformation and online notarizations – both for your business and the industry in general? What are your post-COVID-19 predictions when it comes to Remote Online Notarization?

Notarize’s business has skyrocketed more than 600% since March and the company has seen rapid adoption of the platform as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses and consumers to rely on remote, digital notarizations to complete critical transactions, including commercial agreements, retirement withdrawals, healthcare proxies, home closings, and refinancings.

The pandemic has fast-tracked market acceptance and business operations for Notarize and RON as a category. Demand for the Notarize platform has been particularly high for real estate transactions, with over $7 billion ordered in June 2020 alone, as people looked to complete closings, refinance, and take advantage of historically low interest rates. At the current rate, Notarize is on pace to close $100BN in volume on the platform.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help facilitate digital solutions throughout the industry, Notarize opened its platform to independent notaries and title agents in 13 states, empowering them to complete their own transactions with a convenient, secure, SaaS-based solution. In addition, Notarize hired thousands of notaries in Florida, Texas, Virginia and Nevada. Hired notaries are onboarded remotely, work from the safety of their home, and receive same-day payment for their services through Stripe Connect, a platform that accepts money and pays out to third parties. Notarize has inked dozens of partnerships across multiple categories, notably J. D. Power & Associates in auto to help aid fully-digital car sales.

Online notarization with the US Legal Forms and Notarize integration is possible 24/7, 365 days a year.

Get your documents notarized in a matter of minutes!