This is a question that I am getting a lot right now and there is a lot of confusion regarding this topic both for lawyers and our clients. It is not a simple question: can you use an online notary legally in Louisiana? Yes….. and no.
On March 26, 2020, Louisiana Governor Edwards issued an emergency proclamation allowing legally notarization to take place by a licensed notary in Louisiana. Previous to this there was no statutory provision for online notarization in Louisiana. You can read the proclamation here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/news/law-updates/la-governor-proclamation-37-jbe-2020
This new rule suspends the previous statutory requirement that the notary, the client, and witnesses be physically in the same room. The changes to the law apply only during this COVID crisis and give several requirements for notaries to notarize documents online, including recording visually and audio the transaction and keeping that recording for a period of 10 years.
Unfortunately, the new rule specifically excludes authentic acts (required for many things in Louisiana including real estate transactions and other legal acts that specify that form.) It also specifically excludes laws pertaining to testaments, trust instruments, donations inter vivos, matrimonial agreements, acts modifying, waiving or extinguishing an obligation of final spousal support. It appears that these legal situations will still require the physical presence of the notary, the signatory and two witnesses.
These are strange days and we are all trying to adapt in creative ways to get the legal work done and comply with the law. I hope this information is helpful to you as you navigate the coming days. Stay well.