As of 6 April 2020 it is possible to attest notarial acts remotely via digitised notarial services (remote attestation), which was initially planned as a pilot project in Estonian foreign representations. A format for attesting notarial acts has been added to the traditional format whereby a party to the act to be attested had to personally visit the notary’s office in order to enable the notary to identify him. If the notarial act is attested remotely via digitised notary services, the person is identified via video bridge.
Using remote attestation as a form for attesting a notarial act is voluntary both for interested parties and for notaries. It has simplified, and in some cases enabled, performance of notarial acts irrespective of the currently applicable emergency situation in Estonia. Using remote attestation is possible for all acts, except certification of contracting and dissolving marriage, and making entries of marriage and divorce.
Participation through video bridge…
In essence, remote attestation is conducted similarly to other e-government services with the distinction that in the case of remote attestation the time of attestation will be agreed with the notary, and the parties to the act and the notary have to attend the attestation at the agreed time via video bridge. The attested act has to be signed by the participants digitally, and the document can also be signed in the course of remote attestation by e-Residents.
In order to conduct remote attestation smoothly, participants should have a computer with a sufficiently fast internet connection, a functioning webcam and sound (voice and microphone). The computer should also not be in a network that is limited by a firewall.
… and remote attestation for real estate mortgage, purchase and sale agreements
As for real estate-related acts, remote attestation can be used for, eg, sale and purchase agreements of real property, as well as establishing mortgages on them, along with building title, servitudes and real encumbrances, and in addition to attest powers of attorney under which the authorised person can perform these acts on behalf of their principal.
When attesting large-scale transactions questions may arise regarding the technical possibility of the parties’ legal counsel being present at the attestation. It is definitely possible so that the legal counsel is together in the same room with a party to the transaction. It should also be technically possible to add the legal counsel to the attestation act independently. However, this should be separately agreed with the notary who is attesting the act.