Under Executive Order NO. 2020-41, Governor Whitmer permits a remote notarization to minimize interaction and facilitate working remotely during Stay Home, Stay Safe.  Real Estate transactions are required by law to comply with rules and procedures that includes requiring a notary to be physically present.  Under this Executive Order, the requirement that a notary must be physically present is temporarily suspended until May 6, 2020, if certain conditions are met.

Conditions for Remote Notarization of Real Estate Transactions

  • A complete paper-closing package must be sent to the person signing the documents.
  • A two-way real-time audiovisual technology must allow direct interaction between the individual seeking the notary’s services, any witnesses, and the notary.
  • Both the visual and audio interaction is required at the time of the notarization and must be available with the technology (two-way real-time technology).
  • The two-way real-time audiovisual technology must be capable of creating both an audio and visual recording.
  • Valid evidence of identification (driver’s license, state identification card) is still required to be presented to the notary during the audiovisual conference if the notary does not personally know the signatory.
  • A notary must present each page of the document(s) to the signatory during the live and recorded session.
  • The signatory must state what document they are signing.
  • Each title page and signature page of the document being witnessed must be shown to the witness(es) on the two-way real-time audiovisual technology in a manner clearly legible to the witness(es), and every page of the document must be numbered to reflect both the page number of the document and the total number of pages of the document.
  • Once signed, the entire document must be returned directly to the notary by fax, email or electronic means within 24 hours.
  • Once received the notary can complete the notarization and transmit the notarized document back to the individual seeking the notary’s services. The official date and time of the notarization shall be the date and time when the notary witnesses the signature via the audiovisual technology.
  • The register of deeds cannot refuse a document if it is a tangible copy of an electronic record on the ground that it does not bear the original signature of a person, witness, or notary, if the notary before whom it was executed certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.
  • The recording must be retained for 3 years.

Rhoades McKee is continually monitoring legal developments related to COVID-19 and will keep you updated. In the meantime, should you have any questions about the pandemic’s impact on your real estate transaction contracts or any real estate law issues, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Drueke or a member of the Real Estate Legal Team at Rhoades McKee.


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