The enactment of Senate Bill 150 in Kentucky permits parties to execute, witness, and notarize legal documents through the use of video teleconferencing technology in light of social distancing measures necessary to combat COVID-19.
The General Assembly recently passed, and Governor Beshear signed into law, Senate Bill 150, designed to strengthen and supplement the Commonwealth’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Bill contains multiple provisions regarding unemployment insurance and financial assistance, but also contains a provision affecting individuals and businesses in a task that is legally required in many circumstances: witnessing and notarizing legal documents.
Senate Bill 150 provides that:
(11) For purposes of complying with any law, rule, order, or other requirement relating to the receipt of testimony or signature from any party or witness, or the acknowledgement or notarization of any document, for any legal purpose:
(a) Individuals, whether acting for themselves or in a representative capacity, not in the same physical location shall be considered in the presence of one another if the individuals can communicate via a video teleconference in real time to the same extent as if they were physically present in the same location; and
(b) Any document resulting from a video teleconference conducted in accordance with paragraph (a) of this subsection may be executed, acknowledged, or notarized in counterparts, which together shall be considered a single document;
Under the new law, face-to-face contact between a witness, notary, and the person executing the document is no longer required. Instead, the parties may have a video teleconference, such as those provided by Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, so long as all the parties can see and hear each other in real time. The new law makes it possible for the document to be signed, witnessed and notarized in separate parts, which are then combined together to make a single, legally binding document.
During this time of uncertainty when many businesses are closed and individual’s estate planning objectives are put on hold, the new legislation permits important personal, legal, and business matters to continue. From estate planning to real estate to business matters, you can use your time social distancing to remove elements of uncertainty from your life and ensure that your interests are protected. Our attorneys at Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore, P.S.C. (BOAM) are continuing to work for you and are prepared to assist in the preparation and execution of any legal documentation you may need, including estate planning, while maintaining social distancing. If you are interested in an estate plan or will, please feel free to contact Elizabeth Sigler at Sigler@boamlaw.com or Rebekah McKinney at McKinney@boamlaw.com, both may be reached by telephone at 270-781-8111.
Please note that the foregoing summary does not constitute legal advice. Please contact an attorney to address any specific concerns you may have.