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A Better Partnership


Apr 2020
April 10, 2020

New Executive Order Enables Real Estate Transactions

See an update to this eAlert: May 7, 2020, FAQ

On August 28, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020‑173 (the “Order”), which allows through September 30, 2020, the expanded use of electronic signatures, the remote notarization and witnessing of documents, the recording of physical copies of electronic documents with registers of deeds, and the filing of electronic documents with departments of the State of Michigan.

An electronic signature is now permitted for any transaction whenever a signature is required unless the law specifically mandates a physical signature.

Legal documents may be signed, witnessed and acknowledged by a notary public via audio-video conferences in which the witnesses, notary and signer can simultaneously and concurrently see and hear one another. The Order contains numerous specific requirements designed to protect the integrity of the signing process. Warner Norcross + Judd has trained remote notaries who are available to remotely notarize and witness documents.

Registers of deeds must accept (for recording) a physical copy of an electronically signed document if the notary (who notarized the document) certifies that the physical copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record. This allows electronically signed documents to be “papered out” and recorded with a county register of deeds even if that register of deeds does not currently participate in full electronic recording.

Each department of the State of Michigan is permitted to send and accept electronic documents and signatures without prior approval of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

If you have any questions concerning the new Executive Order 2020‑173 or other legal concerns relating to COVID‑19 and its effect on the real estate industry, please contact Chris Meyer, Lexi Woods or your Warner Real Estate Services Practice Group attorney.

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