Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several COVID-19-related bills into law that are important to the real estate industry, estate planners and other businesses that rely on notarized or recorded documents.
To a large extent, the new law confirms the Governor’s prior executive orders on the subject, which the Michigan Supreme Court recently struck down as unconstitutional, and extends their provisions through December 31, 2020. The new law gives effect to documents signed after April 30, 2020, pursuant to the Governor’s executive orders that were struck down.
Specifically, the new law allows for remote signing, witnessing and notarizing of legal documents through December 31, 2020. The law 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.
In addition, the new law provides that registers of deeds must accept electronic documents for recording through December 31, 2020. If a register of deeds does not have the equipment to accept an electronic document, the register of deeds must accept a physical copy of an electronically-signed document that is properly notarized. Further, financial institutions must accept such a document or AN electronic document recorded with a register of deeds.
Finally, each department of the state of Michigan is permitted to send and accept electronic documents and signatures through December 31, 2020, without prior approval of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
If you have any questions concerning the new law or other legal concerns relating to COVID‑19 and its effect on the real estate and estate planning industries, please contact Mark Harder, Chris Meyer, Philip Haywood or your Warner real estate attorney or trusts and estates attorney.