Real Estate Law Update: New Notary Requirements
by Pat Hess
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020, there are immediate changes to the legal requirements for witnessing and signing documents associated with the sale of real estate. If you are in need of recording a document that involves the conveyance of interest in real estate, examples of which include deeds, leases (or memoranda of leases), land contracts (or memoranda thereof), easements and mortgages it will not only need to be signed by the grantor (or parties) but also a witness to each such signature, and the signer’s signature and the witness’ signature will have to be notarized.
A witness must satisfy all of the following requirements:
1. The witness is not a party to the real estate transaction (deed, mortgage, lease, etc.) to which the instrument pertains, and does not benefit from that transaction.
2. The witness watched the grantor, mortgagor, or original signer execute the instrument with his or her signature or mark.
3. The witness signs the instrument, and the witness’s name is legibly printed, typewritten, or stamped immediately beneath the witness’s signature.
4. The witness appears before a notary public or other notarial officer, provides satisfactory proof of the witness’s identity, and is sworn or placed under oath by the notary public or other notarial officer.
5. The witness swears or affirms to the notarial officer that the witness saw the original signer sign the instrument in the witness’s presence.
6. The witness provides any other necessary information to the notarial officer to complete the notarial certificate as to the witness’s identity, signature and sworn or affirmed declaration information.