Dealers who employ individuals who are Notaries and use those Notaries to notarize various documents at the dealership are encouraged to make sure that the Notary is compliant with New Jersey’s new Notary Law. The duty, however, remains on the individual Notary to make sure that they are compliant with the new law.
The new law, amongst other things, permanently authorizes New Jersey Notaries to conduct in-person notarizations of electronic documents and remote online notarization of electronic and tangible documents. Most of the new law is now in effect, however, the sections of the law that requires New Jersey Notaries to comply with a course of study, examination and continuing education goes into effect on July 21, 2022.
The new law completely revamped the commissioning process for Notaries and establishes new procedures to be followed to make notarizations effective. This article will highlight some of the significant changes, however, all Notaries at the dealership must become familiar with the updated New Jersey Notary Public Manual published by the New Jersey Department of Treasury – Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.
- Requires all applications for a Notary commission to be submitted electronically.
- Requires an applicant for a Notary commission to be a legal resident of New Jersey or have a place of employment or practice in New Jersey.
- Requires a non-attorney applicant for an initial Notary commission to complete a course of study and passed an examination. (Effective July 21, 2022).
- Requires a non-attorney applying to renew a Notary commission who has satisfactorily completed a course of study at least one time, or who was commissioned for the first time before the effective date of the Act to complete a continuing education course and provide satisfactory proof of such completion. (Effective July 21, 2022).
- Clarifies that a nonresident applicant who is an employee of a business with its domicile or primary place of business in New Jersey and performs his employment duties remotely from a home office or a co-working space can apply to receive a Notary commission.
- Requires applicants to acknowledge that they have read and understood the Notary Public Manual and complete any other educational programs that the Treasurer may require.
Journal of Notarial Acts:
- Requires a Notary to maintain a journal of all notarial acts the Notary performs.
- Provides that the journal may be created and maintained on a tangible medium or in an electronic format.
- Provides that a Notary must maintain only one journal at a time to chronicle all notarial acts, whether those notarial acts are performed regarding tangible or electronic records.
- Provides that if the journal is maintained on a tangible medium, it must be a permanent, bound register with consecutively numbered lines and consecutively numbered pages.
- Provides that if the journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with any rules and regulations promulgated by the State Treasurer in the New Jersey Notary Public Manual.
- Provides that if a Notary’s journal is lost or stolen, the Notary must notify the State Treasurer within 10 days of the loss or theft.
- Provides that the Notary must either retain the journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act recorded in the journal or transmit the journal to the Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, or a repository approved by the State Treasurer.
Notarial Acts for Electronic Records: Remotely Located Individuals:
- Authorizes a notarial officer to select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records.
- Prohibits a person from requiring a notarial officer to perform a notarial act with respect to an electronic record with a technology that the officer has not selected.
- Provides that before a Notary performs the Notary’s initial notarial act with respect to an electronic record, the Notary must notify the State Treasurer that the Notary will be performing notarial acts with respect to electronic records and identify the technology that the Notary intends to use.
Notarial Acts for Remotely Located Individuals:
- Authorizes a notarial officer in New Jersey to perform a notarial act using communication technology for a remotely located individual.
- Requires a Notary to notify the State Treasurer that the Notary will be performing notarial acts for remotely located individuals before the Notary’s first such act and inform the State Treasurer of the technologies the Notary will be using.
- Clarifies that the remotely located individual may be physically located anywhere and not just in New Jersey.
- Requires a notarial officer, or a person acting on behalf of the officer, to create an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act.
- Clarifies that a notarial officer in New Jersey may administer an oath to a remotely located individual using communication technology.
Dealers must ensure that all Notaries employed at the dealership comply with the new law because all notarizations that do not comply with the new procedures will not be effective. The new law, revised New Jersey Notary Public Manual, as well as directions for active Notaries to follow who want to start offering remote and/or electronic notarizations can be found at https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/notary-public-law.shtml.