Nursing Home Negligence and COVID-19

The statistics for elderly and disabled individuals in nursing home facilities is grim.  In the State of New Jersey, at least 53% of those who passed away from COVID-19 were residents of nursing home facilities.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is investigating the possible negligence of nursing home facilities in dealing with COVID-19.  The Attorney General announced the investigation after reports of how the nursing homes were treating their residents, the manner in which facilities were disposing of dead residents, the lack of communication and the pure negligence by many facilities.  There was a recent discovery of 17 bodies in a morgue that was set up at a nursing home facility in New Jersey.

There is now an online form for family members to report nursing home misconduct.  The Attorney General is in charge of the online form and will process the request for an investigation into possible misconduct by a nursing home facility.  If you believe there was misconduct by a nursing home facility in New Jersey, then please complete the online form at the following address: https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/ltc

Remote Notary Law

Governor Murphy has signed a bill into law that now allows for remote notarial acts during the coronavirus pandemic emergency.  This new law is effective immediately and will continue to be valid until the rescission of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 103.  On March 9, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 103 declaring a State of Emergency for New Jersey due to the coronavirus crisis.

According to this new law, a notary public can remotely notarize a document if the following conditions are satisfied.  First, the notary public must use “communication technology”, which means that it is an electronic device that allows the notary public to communicate with another person “simultaneously by sight and sound”.  The notary public must either have personal knowledge of the identity of the individual who is signing the document or have satisfactory evidence of the identity of the person.  The term “satisfactory evidence” means a passport, driver’s license or other government issued identification.  The identification must be current or if it is expired then it must not have been issued more than three years prior to the execution of the document.

In order for the remote notary to be valid in the State of New Jersey, the notary public must create an audio-visual recording of the signing of the document.  Therefore, unless the signing of the document is not recorded it will not be valid.  Also, the recording must be preserved for a period of 10 years.

This new law does not apply to the signing of a Will or a Codicil to a Will.  Also, this new law will expire as soon as Governor Murphy rescinds Executive Order 103 that declared a State of Emergency.