A Governor’s Executive Order Expires. Now What?

The temporary solution came in the form of an executive order issued by Gov. Brian Kemp on April 9, 2020, which suspended the physical presence requirement and allowed remote witnessing and notarization of various documents using real-time audio-video communication technology.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, members of the legal community scrambled to find virtual or socially distanced ways to continue serving their clients efficiently and safely.

Many components of the average attorney’s practice were easy to convert to a virtual format. Others were more complicated, and in some cases, impossible. In particular, certain formalities coordinated by attorneys that require a person to be in the “presence” of another person when signing a document created obstacles.

In some cases, attorneys resorted to drive-through and parking-lot document signings. In situations where an outdoor signing wasn’t possible (due to lockdown orders, particularly at senior living facilities, or an immunocompromised client for whom even an outdoor signing posed substantial risks), estate planning attorneys were left with few options.