(5 ILCS 175/95-20)
Remote witnessing and notarization.
(a) The purpose of this Section is to give statutory approval to the notary and witness guidelines provided in State of Illinois Executive Order 2020-14.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of law, rule, or regulation, effective March 26, 2020 and ending 30 days after expiration of the Governor's emergency declaration regarding COVID-19, a notarial act or an act of witnessing, including when a person must "appear before", act "in the presence of", or any variation thereof, may be performed through means of two-way audio-video communication technology that allows for direct contemporaneous interaction by sight and sound between the individual signing the document, the witness and the notary public.
(c) A notarial act satisfies the "appearing before" requirement under Section 6-102 of the Illinois Notary Public Act if the notary public performs a remote notarization via two-way audio-video communication technology, provided that the Notary Public commissioned in Illinois is physically within the State while performing the notarial act and the transaction follows any guidance or rules provided by the Illinois Secretary of State in existence on the date of notarization.
(d) An act of witnessing and the technology used in the audio-video communication must substantially comply with the following process:
(1) the two-way audio-video communication must be recorded and preserved by the signatory or the signatory's designee for a period of at least 3 years;
(2) the signatory must attest to being physically located in Illinois during the two-way audio-video communication;
(3) the witness must attest to being physically located in Illinois during the two-way audio-video communication;
(4) the signatory must affirmatively state on the two-way audio-video communication what document the signatory is signing;
(5) each page of the document being witnessed must be shown to the witness on the two-way audio-video communication technology in a means clearly legible to the witness and initialed by the signatory in the presence of the witness;
(6) the act of signing must be captured sufficiently up close on the two-way audio-video communication for the witness to observe;
(7) the signatory must transmit by overnight mail, fax, electronic or other means a legible copy of the entire signed document directly to the witness no later than the day after the document is signed;
(8) the witness must sign the transmitted copy of the document as a witness and transmit the signed copy of the document back via overnight mail, fax, electronic or other means to the signatory within 24 hours of receipt; and (9) if necessary, the witness may sign the original signed document as of the date of the original execution by the signatory provided that the witness receives the original signed document together with the electronically witnessed copy within thirty days from the date of the remote witnessing.
(d) The prohibition on electronic signatures on certain documents in subsection (c) of Section 120 remains in full effect.
(e) Notwithstanding any law or rule of the State of Illinois to the contrary, absent an express prohibition in a document against signing in counterparts, all legal documents, including, but not limited to, deeds, last wills and testaments, trusts, durable powers of attorney for property, and powers of attorney for health care, may be signed in counterparts by the witnesses and the signatory. A notary public must be presented with a fax or electronic copy of the document signature pages showing the witness signatures on the same date the document is signed by the signatory if the notary public is being asked to certify to the appearance of the witnesses to a document.
(f) Any technology issues that may occur do not impact the validity or effect of any instrument or document signed under this Section. As used in this Section, "technology issues" include, but are not limited to, problems with the internet connection, user error related to the use of technology, the file containing a recorded act becoming corrupted, or other temporary malfunctions involving the technology used in an act of witnessing or a notarial act.
(Source: P.A. 101-640, eff. 6-12-20.)