New Law Changes Practice of Register of Deeds in Michigan

By John D. Bartley

On June 15, 2017 the Governor signed House Bill 4532 into law as Public Act 54 of 2017. This law is made effective as of June 15, 2017 and provides that Register of Deeds shall no longer require documents submitted for recording to identify the marital status of male grantors and mortgagors. Such marital status disclosure is necessary only for documents “executed and offered for record before April 6, 2017”. The reason for this change in the law is due the passing of Public Act 489 of 2016 signed by the Governor on January 5, 2017 and made effective April 6, 2017 which acted to repeal a woman’s dower rights in Michigan. This new Public Act 54 now resolves the question about how to properly draft deeds and other conveyance documents that are to be signed by male grantors after the passage of Public Act 489. Despite the passage of Public Act 54, Michigan common law requires a non-titled spouse (man or woman) to join in the execution of a mortgage for the refinance of residential property considered to be the primary residence of such non-titled spouse. Therefore, the continued practice of disclosure of the marital status is recommended for any person signing documents to refinance a loan that will be secured by a mortgage covering residential property if such property may be the principal residence of the mortgagor’s non-titled spouse.

John Bartley concentrates his practice in all aspects of real property law, including representing sellers and purchasers in complex purchase and sale transactions. He also represents lending institutions in construction and permanent financing transactions, as well as in loan workouts. John has extensive experience in title insurance matters and has published articles and lectured on matters of title insurance coverage. While in law school, John earned an award for excellence in the study of business related courses. He is an active member of the Real Property Law Committee of the Macomb County Bar Association.

Categories: Real Estate