On March 31st the Governor of Georgia issued an Executive Order waiving, for the duration of the COVID-19 Emergency, the requirement that a notary must witness signatures of certain legal documents for real estate transactions in person. The Order makes it so that notaries and witnesses may attest or acknowledge an instrument, document, or deed through video conferencing. The Order is set to expire at the end of the Public Health State of Emergency that has been declared for the COVID-19 situation in Georgia. Currently, that date is April 13th, 2020.
The Order allows any witness and/or notary to view the signing through the use of programs such as Google Meet, Zoom, or FaceTime. The document can then be scanned or mailed to the notary and/or witness for execution on their end before being filed into the real estate records or with the clerk of court for the appropriate county. Similarly, witnessing and notarizing is allowed electronically for documents that are not recorded, such as Powers of Attorney and Third-Party Authorizations. This Order will run concurrently with the March 14th Order declaring a Public Health State of Emergency in Georgia. If the emergency is extended beyond April 13th, 2020, the waiver will automatically be extended as well.
The State of Georgia continues to try and find ways to allow individuals and business to conduct business in the State and further modifications or waivers from the Governor’s office may follow. If you have questions, or are looking for assistance with getting documents executed, please contact our office.