Update on Remote Witnessing and Notarization

Updated: Nov 20

Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer issued a series of executive orders which allowed documents to be witnessed and notarized remotely. When the Governor's executive orders were invalidated by the courts, the ability to remotely witness and notarize documents disappeared, and the validity of those documents that were remotely witnessed or notarized was called into question.


On November 5, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed legislation into law which addresses these issues. This legislation allows remote witnessing and notarization (as well as electronic signatures on documents), and it applies to any document executed remotely on or after April 30, 2020 but before January 1, 2021.


Pursuant to this legislation, remote notarization may be performed by a Notary Public using two-way real-time audio-visual technology, so long as the following conditions are met:

- The technology allows direct interaction between the individual signing, any

witnesses, and the notary, where all parties present can communicate simultaneously

by sight and sound.

- The technology can create an audio and visual recording of the complete notarial act

that will be retained as a notarial record.

- The person seeking notary services and any required witnesses provide satisfactory

evidence of identity to the Notary during the video conference (if the person is not

personally known to the Notary).

- The signer is physically present in Michigan (or the document being signed relates to

a matter before a court in Michigan or involves property located in Michigan).

- The signer, any witnesses and the Notary can put their signatures to the document so

that any change or modification of the remote notarial act is tamper evident.

- The signer mails, faxes or emails a legible copy of the entire signed document to the

Notary on the same date it was signed.

- Once the Notary receives the document with all necessary signatures, the Notary

notarizes the document and transmits it back to the signer.

Using this procedure, the official date and time of the notarization is the date and time when the Notary witnesses the signature using two-way real-time audiovisual technology.


Signing and witnessing using two-way real-time audiovisual technology is also allowed, so long as the following conditions are met:

- The technology allows direct, contemporaneous interaction by sight and sound

between the signer and the witnesses.

- The interaction between the signer and the witnesses is recorded and preserved

by the signer for at least three years.

- The signer represents that they are physically in Michigan (or the document being

signed relates to a matter before a court in Michigan or involves property located in

Michigan).

- The signer states what document they are executing during the interaction.

- Each title page and signature page being witnessed is shown to the witnesses in a

manner that is legible to the witnesses and every page is numbered to reflect the

page number and the total number of pages in the document.

- Each act of signing is captured closely enough for the witnesses to observe.

- The signer transmits a legible copy of the entire signed document by mail, fax, or

electronic means to the witnesses within 72 hours of execution.

- The witnesses sign the transmitted copy of the document within 72 hours of receipt

and return the signed copy to the signer by mail, fax or electronic means.


Examples of documents that can be signed under this legislation include (but is not limited to):

- A Will.

- A Durable Power of Attorney.

- A Patient Advocate Designation.

- A Trust.

- A deed for transferring real estate.


At Lumbertown Law, we are familiar with the requirements to remotely sign and notarize documents, and we have assisted a number of clients with remote witnessing and notarizing throughout the pandemic. We have the technology in place to make remote signing go smoothly. So, if you're putting off an update to your Will, Trust or other legal documents because you do not want to interact face-to-face with witnesses or a Notary Public, contact Lumbertown Law today to discuss your circumstances safely and remotely.

Lumbertown Law, PLLC

231-722-7569

111 W. Western Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49442

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