As you may recall, on March 29th, 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. It was a milestone that we here at Notarize were eager to celebrate alongside our home state, but one that is even greater in magnitude than the standard online notarization bill for the ways in which it breaks new ground for the industry. When this bill was signed into law,
Massachusetts made history with the first ever online notarization law (of over 40 in existence nationwide) to establish a process for real estate closing attorneys to close on properties in a completely remote, online capacity.
To do this milestone justice, we’ll break it down even further:
Google search, “attorney-closing state”
Massachusetts is what’s called an attorney-closing state, which — by definition — means that the law requires a licensed Massachusetts attorney to direct real estate closings of property within the Commonwealth. Whether it be drafting a deed or ensuring all the necessary documents are properly executed and notarized, this requirement is applicable to multiple actions that are taken during the process of transferring the title of a property.
Determined to deliver the efficiency and ease of a digital solution, Notarize and its partners in Massachusetts — like the Real Estate Bar Association — collaborated over the past few years to craft new, modernized legislation that would effectively translate the traditional role of an attorney during closings from an in-person to completely digital environment.
It was a laborious challenge, and not one that any state had ever attempted to — let alone successfully — overcome. But as a result of tireless solutions-oriented efforts and steadfast advocacy, we made the “impossible” not just possible, but a reality.
Google maps, “the road ahead”
Our biggest and best work is still ahead of us. With the legislative solution in place, we've set our sights on developing the technological solution. While no platform has built this capability — through which attorneys can be added as participants in the process — Notarize is already hard at work to be the first so that we can be ready to launch when the law goes into effect and all appropriate regulations have been established by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Notarize will approach this work the same way we always have when bringing a new state platform online: with a commitment to compliance and excellence, at all costs.
Put simply, compliance is the core of our business and the cornerstone of our product’s success. But don’t just take our word for how serious we are about state-specific requirements, here’s what Attorney Noel DiCarlo — chair of the Residential Conveyancing Committee at REBA and a top Massachusetts real estate attorney — has to say:
Notarize was a great ally in crafting legislation that ensures that digital mortgage closings are safe and secure for consumers while preserving the attorney’s role in the closing process in Massachusetts. Notarize is a leader in the space of digital closings and working with them on this legislation, I can clearly see why. They have created a platform that is simple to use but with all the technology needed to safeguard the notarization process. They are committed to building their platform to meet all the requirements of the new law, and I feel confident entrusting my clients and their closings with Notarize.
We couldn’t be more excited to welcome notaries — like Noel — across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While the product is being designed to perfection, we can promise you this: businesses, consumers, and attorneys alike will be able to rely on a platform and partner that checks all the boxes with Notarize.