IRS Extends Relief Allowing Remote Witness Procedures For Certain Pension Plan Elections Locke Lord LLP


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, administrators of defined benefit pension plans continue to answer questions about the notary requirement related to certain choices of members and spouses. For eligible pension plans subject to the eligible joint and survivor annuity rules (such as defined benefit pension plans), another form of payment may be chosen by a member if the member’s spouse consents thereto in writing and the spouse’s signature. is attested in his physical presence. a representative of the plan or a notary. With the ongoing social distancing protocols adopted by many states during the pandemic, the “physical presence” requirement presents a challenge. In Notice 2021-3, the IRS granted a temporary waiver related to the physical presence requirement. According to the Notice, the physical presence requirement is deemed to be met if a remote notarization process is used, provided the parties use live audio-video technology and comply with applicable state law requirements. remote notarization. In addition, the guidelines allow for a process whereby a plan representative can witness a signature remotely, rather than a notary public, as follows: the person signing must present valid photo ID when checking in. ” a live audio-video connection; the connection must allow direct “real-time” interaction between the parties; the same day, the signatory must send, by fax or e-mail, a legible copy of the signed document to the plan representative; the plan representative must then acknowledge receipt of the signature and send the acknowledgment of receipt to the person. In Notice 2021-40, the IRS scheduled this temporary relief to remain available until June 30, 2022.


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