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E-signing of certain legal documents allowed during state of emergency

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The state suspends in-person witnessing and notarization of legal documents

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — An amended Executive Order (EO) 20-03 is in place as of Tuesday, March 31, suspending in-person witnessing and notarization of legal documents in Arkansas.

The original order was signed on March 11, 2020 declaring a state emergency as a result of COVID-19; the emergency is on-going.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the amended proclamation that now allows electronic notary services to Arkansans. This amended EO is helpful to the state’s elderly and disabled residents.

Graph 9 reads:

WHEREAS: The elderly and disabled populations of the state are among the most vulnerable to serious risk of harm to their health and finances because of COVID-19. These vulnerable populations are being deprived of the ability to obtain services and complete essential legal documents necessary to protect themselves, their property, and their loved ones;

This change allows skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other residential facilities permission to use electronic notary services.

Also, the witnessing of legal documents, using real-time audio and visual, is allowed as long as each person involved in the electronic signing procedure is in Arkansas at the time of the signing.

In the past, in-person witnessing was done to protect Arkansans, but now with COVID-19 rules it prohibits “most vulnerable populations from receiving legal services in a time of great need,” the proclamation states.

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