Video Conference Closings During COVID-19

COVID-19 UPDATE TO VIDEO CLOSINGS NOW PERMITTED IN GEORGIA

Klosinski Overstreet, LLP is pleased to announce that Governor Kemp and the Georgia Supreme Court have implemented an emergency procedure to temporarily permit Video Conference Closings.  This process would, in effect, be the same as if the parties were in our office.  This is a follow up to our in-person signing which may be reread here: https://www.klosinski.com/in-person-signing-instructions-during-covid-19/.

Effective March 31, 2020 and through midnight May 13, 2020, the Supreme Court and the Governor have directed that Video Conference Closings can occur as follows:

  • The closing attorney and notary can conduct the closing with real time electronic video conferencing in lieu of having the parties appear in person.  This process would fulfill the requirement of “Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of” as required under the Georgia recording statue.
  • The closing attorney, notary and witness must be in the State of Georgia while conducting the Video Conference Closing.
  • The closing and recording process would otherwise proceed as customary.

This process will require that the closing package be sent to the parties, either the buyer or the seller or both, in the transaction for review and signature in advance. Our attorney’s, witness and notary that were present at the Video Conference Closing would then sign, as required in a traditional closing, once the original documents are returned to our office.

We presently use Zoom technology for our video conferences.  Zoom is compatible with most smart phones using their app “Zoom Cloud Meetings” or by using a computer that has a camera, microphone and speaker. If you have any questions about the compatibility of your device for Zoom Video Conference, please call our office at (706) 863-2255.

Requirement for Video Conference Closing:

  1. The transaction must be for property with a sales price or loan amount of $1,000,000 or less. Transaction over $1,000,000 must receive special approval.
  2. The signor’s identity will be validated by:
    • Driver’s License or other government-issued identification
    • AND there will be one other requirement as follows:
      1. Notary can text a random 6-digit number (www.numbergenerator.org) to a known safe phone number; signor must repeat the number back during the video closing.  We will make a note in the file with the 6-digit number and phone number texted; or
      2. Notary will ask the signor a question during the video closing gleaned from personal data contained in the loan file that only the signor would know or,
      3. In the context of a borrower in a refinance transaction,  or a seller in a sale transaction, signor can display a copy of a utility bill dated within the last 30 days for the party’s known address in the name of the signor during the video closing.

What the emergency procedure does not mean:  No, there cannot be remote notaries, or remote witnesses. 

This is obviously fluid times and will require fluid movements to accommodate and keep the staff and attorneys at Klosinski Overstreet safe, as well as all buyers and sellers safe.  We will continue to update when we receive more information. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.