Executive Order Re: Virtual Witnesses

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Governor Creates Executive Order Regarding Virtual Witnesses

On March 26, 2020, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-14, allowing notaries and witnesses to carry out their duties through video-conference, in response to COVID-19.

Typically, witnesses and notaries have to be physically present during a signing. The Executive Order is taking away the requirement of physical presence. During this time of limited physical contact, we can now sign estate planning and other documents that require witnesses and a notary.  

Requirements for Remote Signing with Virtual Witnesses

These are the requirements for remote signing:

  1. During the video conference, the signatory must attest that he or she is physically present in the State of Illinois;
  2. If a notary is required, the notary must be physically present within Illinois;
  3. Also during the video conference, the witnesses must attest that they too are physically present in Illinois;
  4. The audio-video technology must allow for direct interaction between the signer, the witnesses, and the notary;
  5. The video must be recorded and held by the signatory or the signatory’s designee for three years from the date of signing;
  6. The signatory must declare during the conference each and every document that they sign;
  7. Every page of every document signed during the video conference must be shown to each witness by the signatory, and sufficiently close to the camera so that the witness can verify the document;
  8. The signatory must initial every page of every document;
  9. Within 24 hours of signing, the signatory must deliver a legible copy of each signed document to each witness by email, fax, or “other electronic means”;
  10. Upon receipt, the witness must sign the transmitted copy as a witness and transmit the signed copy back to the signatory by fax, email, or other electronic means within 24 hours of receipt. The witness may date the document as of the date of the principal’s signing (the prior date).

The passage of this Executive Order is a huge step forward as we continue to do business during a time of social distancing.  At Anthony J. Madonia & Associates, Ltd., we stand ready to assist clients and continue to provide excellent legal advice and services, even as our office remains closed and our entire staff works remotely.  Please contact us if we can help you or your company.