On April 7, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.14 (“EO 202.14”) which, among other things, authorizes “remote witnessing” for property conveyances under Article 9 of the New York Real Property Law. Remote witnessing may be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:
- The person requesting that their signature be witnessed, if not personally known to the witness, must present valid photo ID to the witness during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
- The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the witness, and the supervising attorney, if applicable (e.g., no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
- The witness must receive a legible copy of the signature page(s), which may be transmitted via fax or electronic means, on the same date that the pages are signed by the person;
- The witness may sign the transmitted copy of the signature page(s) and transmit the same back to the person; and
- The witness may repeat the witnessing of the original signature page(s) as of the date of execution provided the witness receive such original signature pages together with the electronically witnessed copies within thirty days after the date of execution.
EO 202.14 will ease restrictions on parties seeking to convey real property during social distancing restrictions and stay-at-home orders. Further, EO 202.14 allows New Yorkers to execute and remotely attest to wills under Estates Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) 3-2.1(a)(2), EPTL 3-2.1(a)(4). Remote witnessing will be available to New Yorkers under EO 202.14 until May 7, 2020.
Please visit Riker Danzig’s COVID-19 Resource Center to stay up to date on all related legal issues.