Creating a will or trust in Tennessee involves preparing legal documents and then signing them in front of a notary public. With the passage of the state’s Online Notary Public Act, notaries may provide services through two-way audio and video communication, as reported by the National Notary Association. At Richardson & Richardson, LLLP we understand how you and your family may benefit from notarizing your estate planning documents electronically.

Before the Act’s modernization on July 1, 2019, the Secretary of State required a physical appearance to sign documents in the presence of a notary public. The revised Act, however, expands upon what is considered a valid “appearance” by a person who is seeking the services of a notary. Appearing through the Internet or a mobile device is now considered official, and you may use technology to sign your paperwork electronically.

Validating estate planning documents under Tennessee’s Online Notary Public Act requires:

  • Taking an oath in front of a notary public through a secured device that is equipped with two-way audio and video communication technology
  • Transmitting an image of your passport or government-issued identification to the notary and allowing a third-party, such as a public database, to affirm its validity
  • Providing an electronic signature along with your acceptance that the transaction may be recorded, secured and stored by the notary public for five years
  • Paying a fee of up to $25 for the notary’s performance of an online service

The advantage of using an electronic notary service is the convenience that it might offer when a document must be executed quickly because of illness, immobility or financial issues. With proper preparation, you or your beneficiaries may be cared for under the terms of a will or trust as soon as it is legitimately validated. Visit our page on estate planning to learn more about the process of establishing your family’s best approach to drawing up a will or trust.