New notary rules will go into effect in Massachusetts on January 4, 2017. The rules were revised by minor technical amendments to the Massachusetts alienation of land provisions (Chapter 183 of the General Laws), coupled with more substantive revisions to the Massachusetts statute governing justices of the peace, notaries public and commissioners (Chapter 222 of the General Laws). The amendments were enacted by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016.

Shortly after the passage of Chapter 289, Governor Baker issued Executive Order 571. Also effective January 4th of next year, EO 571 rescinds in its entirety Governor Romney's Executive Order 455. EO 455 provided guidance regarding notary public qualification and recordkeeping requirements. It also provided a number of sample clauses, including acknowledgements used for mortgage transactions. EO 455 was deemed no longer necessary because its contents were incorporated and expanded on in the new legislation.

Those holding notary commissions should review the requirements carefully to ensure that they will continue to fulfill their obligations come January 4th. Additionally, mortgage document providers should review the new form of notary acknowledgment, as the model drafting in the amended statute differs slightly from the drafting currently found in EO 455.

Chapter 289

Executive Order 571