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Making History in Massachusetts: The Latest on RON Legislation in the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts just became the 43rd state to pass legislation authorizing remote online notarization (RON).
March 29, 2023
4 mins

Earlier today — March 29, 2023 — the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became the 43rd state to pass legislation authorizing remote online notarization (RON). Signed into law by Governor Maura Healey and effective on January 1, 2024, the legislation expands access to online notarization — and the Notarize platform — to all notaries across the Commonwealth.

Notarize applauds and extends its gratitude to Governor Healey, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Ronald Mariano, Chairman Michael Rodrigues, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz, Chairman James Eldridge, Chairman Michael Day, Senator Brendan Crighton, Representative Carmine Gentile, Senator Joan Lovely, Senator Barry Finegold, and the entire General Court of the Commonwealth for their efforts to bring online notarization — and the opportunities that come with it — to the hard-working notaries commissioned within the state.

While we celebrate the legislation’s passage as a major achievement — and monumental step forward for the modernization of the real estate industry — in its own right, we consider the milestone to be special given it’s the state in which Notarize was founded. Better yet, it’s a result that stems directly from several years of tireless collaboration amongst a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including our valued partners at the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association, Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Massachusetts Credit Union Association, the Life Insurance Association of Massachusetts, Digital Federal Credit Union, and the Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company.

More on Why it Matters:

TL; DR: Massachusetts has broken new ground for RON with attorney participation.

With this legislation being signed into law, Massachusetts becomes the first ever state to enact a comprehensive online notarization proposal that preserves the role of the attorney in a remote real estate closing process. Historically speaking, the Notarize for Real Estate platform has not been able to support closings for properties located within the Commonwealth because of a pre-existing requirement that an attorney both direct the closing and ensure that non-attorney notaries are not engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

As a result of our extensive advocacy efforts — especially those in which we partnered with the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association (MMBA) and the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) — this legislation effectively digitizes the existing closing process in Massachusetts while maintaining the integrity and central role of the attorney, as mandated by the Supreme Judicial Court. 

Notarize has worked for years to design a legislative solution that would offer closing attorneys nationwide the ability to process closings fully remotely. With today’s development we now have an official legislative model that can be applied across the country for all remaining attorney-closing states yet to enact online notarization.

More on What to Expect Next:

The law will become effective on January 1, 2024, and will require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to establish new regulations and processes for notaries. We encourage you to keep a close eye on this page for more information as it becomes available throughout the year ahead.

In the meantime, we’re incredibly proud that our home state has joined the ranks of so many others in providing access to online notarization. We know that our best — and most important work — is yet to come, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the Commonwealth for years to come.

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