Michigan Adopts Remote Witnessing and Notarization Legislation

January 21, 2021
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Michigan Adopts Remote Witnessing and Notarization Legislation

Author: Jake Vande Zande

Governor Whitmore signed several new bills into law related to remote witnessing and notarization due to the hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be advantageous for people and businesses that frequently work with notarized or recorded documents. The new legislation that allows electronic signatures, remote witnessing and notarization will replace Governor Whitmore’s prior executive orders that were struck down.

The new legislation concerns documents that have been executed through remote signing, witnessing, and notarizing and applies to any document executed after April 30, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.  The legislation requires specific conditions to be met for the signing, witnessing, or notarization to be valid in an effort to maintain the legitimacy of the signing process.

Under 2020 PA 246, a few notable documents that can be signed and witnessed remotely include:

  • a will
  • a disclaimer
  • a funeral representative designation
  • a parental appointment of a guardian for a minor
  • an appointment of a guardian for a legally incapacitated individual, and
  • a durable power of attorney

    The conditions required for remote signing and witnessing include:

    • direct interaction between individuals
    • audio and visual recording
    • physical presence in Michigan (there are additional requirements for individuals outside of Michigan)
    • signer must state the document being signed
    • each page and signature are shown to the witness
    • witness must actually be able to observe the signing
    • provision of the signed document within 72 hours.

    Under 2020 PA 249, the conditions required for remote notarization include:

    • direct interaction between individuals
    • audio and visual recording
    • physical presence in Michigan (there are additional requirements for individuals outside of Michigan),
    • sufficient evidence of identity
    • provision of the signed document on the same day it was signed.

    If the new legislation is relevant to you or your business and you need guidance related this legislation, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Lachman Stuart for all of your real estate law needs in West MI.