September 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 267

Advertisement

September 23, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 22, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 21, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation Ratifying Remotely Witnessed, Notarized, and Signed Documents Through End of 2020

This year to date, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed 192 executive orders, with the majority of these orders relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Several of these orders permitted remote witnessing, remote notarization, and electronic signing of estate planning documents, which allowed clients and their attorneys to sign estate planning and real estate documents from virtually anywhere.     

When the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the Governor had no authority to extend emergency declarations used to mandate COVID-19 restrictions beyond April 30, 2020, the validity of estate planning documents that had been remotely witnessed, notarized, and/or signed after that date became an open question.   

On Thursday, November 5, Gov. Whitmer signed several bills into law to address this issue.  2020 PA 246247248, and 249.  These new laws give effect to documents witnessed, signed, or notarized remotely from April 30, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Additionally, registers of deeds are required to accept electronic documents for recording and to accept a physical copy of an electronically signed document that is properly notarized through the end of 2020.  However, as of January 1, 2021, remote witnessing and notarization will again be unavailable unless further legislation is passed, so there is a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of these changes.

© 2021 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 317
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Christopher J. Caldwell, Estate planning lawyer, Varnum
Partner

Chris is a partner and leads Varnum's Estate Planning team. Chris is acutely aware that advising clients on estate planning and wealth succession requires an intimate understanding of the client's goals, hopes, desires, and concerns in order to accurately prepare an appropriate plan. As such, he works intimately with clients and their advisors to create estate plans that enable families to plan for today as well as for future generations. Chris regularly prepares sophisticated estate plans, emphasizing probate avoidance, estate tax planning, and business succession...

616/336-6951
Laura E. Radle, estate planning attorney, Varnum
Partner

Laura is an attorney in the firm’s estate planning team where she helps individuals and families to identify their estate planning goals and to create a plan that is tailored to meet their specific needs. Laura’s practice includes a full range of estate planning and estate settlement services including the preparation of basic or complex estate plans, tax planning, business succession planning, cottage planning, charitable gift planning, and estate and trust administration services.

As a member of the Family Business Team, Laura assists business owners with the...

616/336-6415
Janelle Haggadone, Varnum Law Firm, Grand Rapids, Estate Planning and Corporate Law Attorney
Associate

Janelle works with Varnum’s Estate Planning Team as well as the Business and Corporate Services Practice Team. She has experience drafting estate plans, assisting with estate administrations, and reviewing and drafting contracts.  She also provides support to the litigation team with respect to probate litigation matters. Janelle has a particular interest in understanding clients' motivations and focusing her effort toward realizing their goals. 

In the community, Janelle serves on the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women executive...

616-336-6371
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement