Delaware Supreme Court Relaxes Notarization Requirements

April 9, 2020Alerts

With a few notable exceptions, the Delaware Supreme Court has relaxed the requirement for notarization of most documents filed in the Delaware state courts.

The order suspends any state court requirement for a sworn, notarized document, such as a declaration, verification, affidavit, oath, certificate or other statement, except as provided by 10 Del. C. § 5354(b). In lieu of a notary stamp, the declarant must state that the contents of the document are true and correct to the best of the declarant’s knowledge, under penalty of perjury. The document must bear an ink signature, printed name, and the date of execution.

However, the suspension does not cover: (i) certain estate planning documents’ signing requirements or (ii) documents relating to real property including but not limited to deeds, promissory notes and mortgages. As a result, these items still require notarization.

Gov. John Carney originally issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware Due to a Public Health Threat on March 12, 2020. That Declaration has been amended on 10 separate modifications. Additional modifications continue to be proposed, including a suspension of the requirement of personal presence of the notary together with the person signing the document utilizing audio-visual technology.

Pending release of the suspension of the notary modification, all estate planning documents could and should be signed as after the public health threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated, all documents requiring notarization could be notarized by affirmation.

Please stay tuned as the new modifications are released.