WBK Industry News - State Regulatory Developments

Arkansas Issues Notary Guidance Amidst COVID-19 Social Distancing Practices

Arkansas issued Executive Order 20-12 on March 30, 2020, suspending in-person witnessing and signature requirements for notarization.  The Order amended Executive Order 20-03 issued on March 11, 2020, declaring a state of emergency in Arkansas and advising necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

This most recent Order suspends existing state law that requires notaries witness a document in person before signing them.  Order 20-12 allows for document notarization to occur remotely, utilizing videoconferencing technology and e-signatures to temporarily minimize any human contact during this state of emergency.  The Order defines acceptable forms of videoconferencing to include, “technology where all parties can see and hear the other parties simultaneously.”

Those who may witness legal documents under the current exceptions are attorneys licensed to practice in Arkansas, title agents licensed to do business in Arkansas, notary public supervised by either an attorney or a title agent licensed to do business in the Arkansas or a notary public employed by a financial institution registered with the Arkansas State Bank Department.