Publications iconKansas Register

Volume 40 - Issue 13A - April 1, 2021

State of Kansas

Office of the Governor

Executive Order No. 21-10
Temporarily Allowing Notaries and Witnesses to
Act Via Audio-Video Communication Technology During State of Disaster Emergency

WHEREAS, securing the health, safety, and economic well-being of residents of the State of Kansas is this Administration’s top priority;

WHEREAS, Kansas is facing a crisis–the pandemic and public health emergency of COVID- 19-with effects of illness, quarantines, school closures, and temporary closure of businesses resulting in lost wages and financial hardship to Kansas citizens;

WHEREAS, the United States Departments of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency for COVID-19 beginning January 27, 2020, with now more than 30,147,000 cases of the illness and more than 547,000 deaths as a result of the illness across the United States;

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020;

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States pursuant to Sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq. and consistent with Section 1135 of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 1320b-5), declared that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency beginning March 1, 2020;

WHEREAS, a State of Disaster Emergency was proclaimed for the State of Kansas on March 12, 2020, and extended to May 28, 2021, by Section 5 of Senate Bill 40 enacted during the 2021 Legislative Session;

WHEREAS, there have been over 302,372 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kansas, spread among all 105 counties and 4,913 deaths as a result of the illness;

WHEREAS, on April 9, 2020, I executed Executive Order 20-20, which was extended by Executive Orders 20-40, 20-49, 20-64, and 21-02, temporarily allowing notaries and witnesses to act via audio-video communication technology, and the justifications for that Order are fully set forth therein and incorporated herein by reference;

WHEREAS, K.S.A. 53-512 states that notarial acts performed by a notary public pursuant to an executive order shall be valid as if the notary appeared in person under relevant Kansas law;

WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate for the State of Kansas to immediately take measures to promote and secure the safety and protection of the people of the State in response to this COVID-19 outbreak while ensuring that all Kansas residents may continue to make vital personal decisions such as executing a will, power of attorney, or health care directive and business decisions so that businesses may continue to operate and finalize necessary documents during the pandemic; and

WHEREAS, in these challenging times this Administration will do whatever it can to avoid immediate dangers to the health, safety, and welfare of Kansans.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Kansas, including but not limited to the authority granted me by K.S.A 48-924 and K.S.A 48-925(c)(1) and (c)(11), in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, I hereby direct and order the following:

  1. During the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the requirements that a person must appear before a Notary Public commissioned under the laws of Kansas pursuant to K.S.A. 53-503 and any related statutes, are suspended and such requirements are satisfied if the Notary Public performs a remote notarization via two-way audio-video communication technology, provided that:
    1. the Notary Public commissioned in Kansas and the individual signing the document are both physically within the State while performing the notarial act;
    2. the Notary Public is able to identify the individual signing the document, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual; and
    3. the transaction follows any guidance posted by the Kansas Secretary of State on its website.
  2. During the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency related to the outbreak of COVID-19, any act of witnessing required by Kansas law may be completed remotely by two-way audio-video communication technology, provided that:
    1. The two-way audio-video communication technology must allow for direct, contemporaneous communication between the individual signing the document (“the signatory”) and the witness by sight and sound;
    2. The signatory must attest to being physically located in Kansas during the two-way audio-video communication;
    3. The witness must attest to being physically located in Kansas during the two-way audio-video communication;
    4. The signatory must affirmatively state on the two-way audio-video communication what document the signatory is signing;
    5. Each page of the document being witnessed must be shown to the witness on the two-way audio-video communication technology in a means clearly legible to the witness and initialed by the signatory in the presence of the witness;
    6. The act of signing must be captured sufficiently up close on the two-way audio-video communication for the witness to observe;
    7. The signatory must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the entire signed document directly to the witness no later than the day after the document is signed;
    8. The witness must sign the transmitted copy of the document as a witness and transmit the signed copy of the document back via fax or electronic means to the signatory within 24 hours of receipt;
    9. If necessary, the witness may sign the original signed document as of the date of the original execution by the signatory provided that the witness receives the original signed document together with the electronically witnessed copy within thirty days from the date of the remote witnessing; and
    10. If the Notary Public is being asked to certify to the appearance of the witnesses to a document, multiple-way audio-video communication technology must allow for direct, contemporaneous communication between the Notary Public, the signatory, and the witness by sight and sound.
  3. All provisions of Article 16 of Chapter 16 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated concerning electronic transactions remain in full effect.
  4. During the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency related to COVID-19, notwithstanding any law or regulation of the State of Kansas to the contrary, absent an express prohibition in a document against signing in counterparts, all legal documents, including deeds, last wills and testaments, trusts, durable powers of attorney for property, and powers of attorney for health care, may be signed in counterparts by the witness(es) and the signatory. A Notary Public must be presented with a fax or electronic copy of the document signature pages showing the witness signatures on the same date the document is signed by the signatory if the Notary Public is being asked to certify to the appearance of the witnesses to a document.

This document shall be filed with the Secretary of State as Executive Order No. 21-10. It shall become effective immediately and remain in force until rescinded or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency extended by Section 5 of Senate Bill 40 enacted during the 2021 Legislative Session and as extended by any subsequent enactment or resolution expires, whichever is earlier.

Dated April 1, 2021.

Laura Kelly
Governor

Doc. No. 048992