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COVID-19 Spurs More Orders From Geogia Governor to Help Law Firms Conduct Business During Crisis

As I have previously written, we are working remotely to assist you with your legal needs during the COVID-19 crisis. To help law firms conduct their practice of law during this emergency, Governor Kemp issued another executive order which allows the remote notarization and witnessing of documents.

The order reads in relevant part:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED

That any purported requirement under the laws of this state that a notarial act performed pursuant to Chapter 17 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia must occur in the physical presence of the notary public is hereby suspended, and any such act may be performed remotely if the all following requirements are met:

1. The notary public uses real-time audio-video communication technology or any similar real-time means of electronic video conferencing that allows the parties to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound in order to notarize signatures.
2. The notary public is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia or is operating under the supervision of an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. As used here, the term “supervision” shall mean that the notary public is an employee, independent contractor, agent, or other representative of an attorney or an attorney observes the execution of documents either inĀ­ person or via the real-time audio-video communication technology.
3. The signer requiring the notarial act from the notary public presents satisfactory evidence of identity as required in Code Section 45-17-8, while connected to the real-time audio-video communication technology.
4. The notary public is physically located in the state of Georgia.
5. The signer transmits a copy of the signed document to the notary public on the same date it was executed for execution by the notary.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

That any requirement under Georgia law, including, but not limited to, Code Sections 10-6B-5, 15-9-86, 19-3-62, 19-8-4, 19-8-5, 19-8-6,19-8-7, 29-2-11, 29-4-3, 29-5-3, 31-32-5, 44-5-128, 44-5-143, 44-5-144, 44-5-145, or 53-4-20, including a power of attorney, verified petition filed in probate court, Governor agreement, surrender of rights for adoption, return filed in probate court, standby guardian designation, nomination of guardian, nomination of conservator, advance directive for health care, designation of successor custodian, will, codicil, or other document be signed, subscribed, executed, witnessed, attested, acknowledged, or affirmed in the physical presence of another individual or other individuals may be satisfied by the use of audio-video communication technology or any similar real-time means of electronic video conferencing that allows all of the parties to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

That the official date and time of the notarization or witnessing performed via the use of audio-video communication technology or any similar real-time means of electronic video conferencing pursuant to this Order shall be the date and time when the notary and/or witness(es) witness the signature via the video conference technology.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

That all documents notarized or witnessed via the use of audio-video communication technology or any similar real-time means of electronic video conferencing pursuant to this Order shall be signed, certified, and executed, as appropriate, by the notary and/or witness(es) on the same calendar day that the signer signs the document.

In these new and trying times, our firm, along with most other law firms who have been deemed essential businesses, are striving to conduct business in a way that is efficient, safe and productive. This order from Governor Kemp helps this endeavor.

Robert J. Fleming is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia and Decatur, Georgia. He is a personal injury attorney who has been handling wrongful death, dental malpractice, medical malpractice, car accidents and premises injury cases for over 25 years. He practices in the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb counties in Georgia and nearby cities such as Alpharetta, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Stone Mountain. If you or a family member has been seriously injured and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.

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