Removing Notary Law Barriers to Electronic Real Estate Recording is a recent article by Paul Hodnefield of CSC Transaction Watch.
Today, electronic transactions are an integral part of commerce. Consenting parties have the ability to place orders, enter into contracts, issue invoices and conduct other business activities reliably and without generating any paper. Electronic transactions generally offer far greater speed than paper-based processes and at a tiny fraction of the cost. Not surprisingly, businesses have enthusiastically embraced electronic commerce technology.
States originally enacted notary statutes at a time when lawmakers could not conceive of any medium besides paper for recording real estate conveyances. State laws tacitly assumed that the notarial act would use ink signatures on paper and be evidenced by the physical application of a notary’s seal. Consequently, paper remains the starting point for recording real estate conveyances in the majority of states.
Fortunately, that situation may soon change with adoption of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (“RULONA”). RULONA was designed to modernize notary law, create greater uniformity and reinforce the integrity of all notarial acts, not just those performed electronically. The Uniform Law Commission approved RULONA in 2010. Only three states, Iowa, North Dakota and Oregon, have enacted RULONA as of this writing. Pennsylvania is expected to enact the legislation later in 2013.