New Laws Allow Electronic Signing of Estate Planning, Real Property Documents Through Dec. 31, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed House Bills 6294-6297 into law, allowing documents to be signed, witnessed, and notarized electronically until Dec. 31, 2020.

The bills amend the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, and the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts, respectively. The bills have a largely retroactive effect from April 30, 2020, and encourage the use of electronic signatures, witnesses, and records where available.

The bills amend the following:

  • The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which authorizes and provides the terms and conditions under which information and signatures can be transmitted, received, and stored by electronic means.
  • The Estates and Protected Individuals Code, which is an act to codify, revise, consolidate, and classify aspects of the law relating to wills and intestacy, relating to the administration and distribution of estates of certain individuals, relating to trusts, and relating to the affairs of certain individuals under legal incapacity; to provide for the powers and procedures of the court that has jurisdiction over these matters; to provide for the validity and effect of certain transfers, contracts, and deposits that relate to death; to provide procedures to facilitate enforcement of certain trusts; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.
  • The Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, which allows county clerks and recorders to electronically record information on real property and land records.
  • The Michigan Law on Notarial Acts , which provides for the qualification, appointment, and regulation of notaries.

Remote estate planning

Those who don’t have an estate plan may want to take advantage of the opportunity to secure their documents remotely. Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced legal offices to close, clients seeking estate planning documents typically had to visit the office to finalize the estate plan. Teleconferencing was not permitted by law as an acceptable way to obtain and notarize signatures.

O’Reilly Rancilio estate planning attorneys are ready to assist new and existing clients with all of their remote estate planning needs. For additional information, visit our website or call 586-726-1000.