Gov Signs Remote Witnessing Order

By Doug Chalgian on April 9, 2020

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order allowing notarial acts and witnessing to be conducted remotely.

To read the order click here.

Probably the most curious aspect of the order is that it mandates a two-step process, whereby the signatory performs their act on video in the virtual presence of the witness/notary, transfers the signed document to the witness/notary, and the witness/notary then performs their act having received the signed documents.

There are a lot of details in the order. If you’re going to do these, you will probably want to make up a checklist – I know I will. Some of the requirements are:

  1. the parties must be connected by video and audio so that they can see and hear each other in real time,
  2. the event must be recorded,
  3. the signed document must be “transmitted” to the notary on the same date that the document was signed, which transmittal can be done electronically or by mail,
  4. the witnesses and/or notary will then perform their act when they receive the original document in the mail.


The executive order also addresses issues related to requirements of guardians, guardians ad litem and court visitors to be in contact with their wards and proposed wards. The order allows those aspects of their jobs that would otherwise require physical contact to be performed remotely. As with the witnessing and notary rules above, these remote communications must be achieved through two-way audio and video real time connections. [One might wonder what percentage of isolated adults subject to guardianships or conservatorships have the technology and the capacity to operate the technology needed to make this work.]


As I understand executive orders, they expire in 28 days unless extended.


Good work to all involved. This order is obviously a big help. While many lawyers in Michigan were active in the process of getting this order written and approved, I know that CT’s own Chris Smith and Dan Hilker had a hand in it, and am proud to acknowledge their roles.


mm By: Doug Chalgian
Doug Chalgian

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