eNotarization and Remote Notarization

eNotarization and Remote Notarization

eNotarization

e-Notarization is a process by which a notary provides an electronic/digital notarization for an electronic/digital document. The effect is the same as a notary signing a sheet of paper, but it allows for easier transmittal of the document by email or another electronic source, and enables electronic filing.

Beginning October 1, 2015, Montana notaries public may perform any notarial act using eNotarization. Currently, however, Montana notaries may only perform eNotarizations within the borders of Montana. To ensure their notarizations comply with Montana law, notaries who elect to perform eNotarizations should carefully review the following information before performing any eNotarizations.

Registration Requirements

Before performing the initial eNotarization, the notary must:

  1. notify the Secretary of State’s office that the notary will be performing eNotarizations; and
  2. notify the Secretary of State’s office of the technology the notary intends to use.

Current notaries may notify the Secretary of State’s office by completing the Montana Notary Public Information Update form and sending it to the Secretary of State’s office.

New notaries, or those requesting reappointment of an existing commission, may notify the Secretary of State’s office when completing the Application for Appointment as a Montana Notary Public form.

If the technology used by a notary changes, or the notary stops performing eNotarizations, the notary must notify the Secretary of State’s office of the change by completing the here for tangible seal/stamp requirements.

When performing eNotarizations, the notarial certificate and official stamp must be attached to, or logically associated with, the document/record bearing the notarized signature.

Journals

Notaries may use paper or electronic journals to record their eNotarizations. All electronic journals must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format. Entries in electronic journals must be made contemporaneously with each eNotarization and contain the same information as that required for paper journals. For a list of journal entry requirements, click here. For a description of journal retention requirements, click here.


Remote Notarization

Beginning October 1, 2015, Montana notaries public may perform certain notarial acts using real-time, two-way audio-video communication (remote notarization). Remote notarization may be used in conjunction with eNotarization or paper notarization. To ensure their notarizations comply with Montana law, notaries who elect to perform remote notarizations should carefully review the following information before performing any remote notarizations.

Limitation on Notarial Acts That May be Performed Using Remote Notarization

Remote notarization may only be used to perform acknowledgments or verifications on oath or affirmation (jurats), and may only be done if:

  1. the signer is personally known to the notary or identified by a credible witness; and
  2. except for a transaction that is pursuant to a proxy marriage under MCA §40-1-213 or MCA §40-1-301, the signer is a legal resident of Montana; and
  3. the transaction:
    1. involves real property located in Montana;
    2. involves personal property titled in Montana;
    3. is under the jurisdiction of any Montana court, or
    4. is pursuant to a proxy marriage under MCA §40-1-213 or MCA §40-1-301.

Documentary evidence (i.e., driver’s license, passport, student ID, etc.) is not acceptable for identifying the signer.

Witnessing signatures, administering oaths, certifying copies, certifying transcripts of depositions or affidavits, or making protests of negotiable instruments may not be done using remote notarization.

Montana notaries may only perform remote notarizations in Montana.

Technology

Montana law does not require notaries to use any particular technology when performing remote notarizations. The Secretary of State’s office has proposed an administrative rule, however, that requires using technology that allows the individuals communicating to simultaneously see and speak to one another.

Journals/Recording

Notaries who perform remote notarizations must record the entire communication. The Secretary of State’s office has proposed an administrative rule that describes the information that must be included in the recording.

Notaries who perform remote notarizations must keep a copy of the recording of the entire communication, as well as a notation of the identification, for a period of 10 years from the date of the notarization.