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By Hunter Rouse on April 9, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many Missourians are finding it difficult to carry on a modicum of “business as usual.” One of the many difficulties is the requirement that certain legal documents, including deeds, deeds of trust (mortgages), wills and powers of attorney, must be validated through personal appearance before a notary public (and in some cases witnesses) to meet certain requirements or to be effective. Even though most real estate documents will remain enforceable even in the absence of effective notarization, individuals should endeavor to notarize such documents to avoid potential litigation. However, applicable shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders have made it difficult, if not impossible, to have anything notarized in a safe, social-distancing-mindful way.

In light of these concerns, on April 6, 2020, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued Executive Order 20-08, which purports to suspend the requirement of personal appearance to have a document notarized. Instead, the order permits notarization of documents through a videoconference (FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and other such video chats), provided certain requirements are met.

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