As a follow up to my blog last week about Maryland Order and related problems for Remote Witness and Notary, Governor Hogan’s issued an updated Order on April 10 clarifying how that process is to take place and also allowing for the use of remote video witnessing.
This will allow for the signing of wills, trusts and other related documents by video, with a set of rather demanding requirements: an Attorney must supervise the process but cannot serve as a witness, the entire process must be recorded on a conferencing platform (other than ZOOM), and other requirements must be met also.
We are currently traveling in teams to client’s homes to sign documents and have not yet adopted this alternative process, partly because of what I see as the need to redo documents as soon as allowable through an in-person signing. Also, the new Governor’s order ends with a disclaimer that “If any provision of this Order…is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction..” (Emphasis added).
In anything involving a will, this disclaimer language in the Order itself makes relying on it somewhat problematic. In circumstances where a person cannot allow for in-person signature, it is better than nothing, but it is a far cry from bulletproof, which is what we strive for. Therefore, we will only be using a remote witness and notary if we cannot arrange for an in-person signing.