- Consumer Info
By William L. Robinson, Jr.
MLTA Legislative Steering Committee Chairman
Much has been written about the recent “lame duck” legislative session in Lansing. One might incorrectly assume that our legislature only passes controversial laws and only does so when term limits are about to be effective. In reality, we’ve had a wide variety of new statutes enacted over the last two years which may affect our industry. To follow is a brief summary of the most influential changes.
Public Act 54 of 2017, signed June 20, 2017
Change: Eliminates the requirement to state the marital status of a male grantor for instruments effective after April 6, 2017.
Impact: Clarifies the recording requirements for instruments in line with the elimination of spousal dower.
Public Act 196 of 2017, signed December 28, 2017
Change: Amends the Land Division Act to allow the use of a “0” or the word “all” when transferring grantee division rights.
Impact: Causes the law to conform to current practice and removes concerns from deed preparation.
Public Act 330 of 2018, signed July 25, 2018
Change: Requires the Secretary of State and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to approve at least 1 remote online notarization platform for use in this state. Authorizes a Notary Public to use an approved online notarization platform.
Impact: Paves the way for electronic remote real estate settlements. Standards must still be established and Registers of Deeds must agree to record. No mandated electronic recording was included so adoption may be sporadic.
Public Act 367 of 2018, signed December 12, 2018
Change: Amends the Construction Lien Act to allow architects, engineers and other design professionals to file a notice of contract, which establishes potential lien rights, before any visible improvements are erected. Any subsequent lien relates back to the recording of the notice unless or until visible improvements are begun.
Impact: Creates a new class of potential construction liens. Following MLTA’s intervention, however, a notice termination period of one year was included and priority clarification was added.
Public Acts 360, 361, 362, 363 and 364 of 2018, signed December 13, 2018
Change: Establishes the right of a Notary Public to perform notarial acts electronically and authorizes a Register of Deeds to accept electronic documents for recording only from sources with whom the Register has an agreed upon verified transactional relationship.
Impact: Opens the door to fully electronic real estate documents. Clarifies the scope by which Registers may accept electronic documents for recording.
Public Acts 491 and 492 of 2018, signed December 28, 2018
Change: Allows the use of a Certificate of Trust form authorized under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) when conveying interests in real property from a trust.
Impact: Supersedes the use of a Certificate of Trust Existence and Authority. Adopts the EPIC standard which allows a Certificate of Trust to be executed by a successor trustee and eliminates the need to record specific trustee powers.
Public Act 572 of 2018, signed December 28, 2018
Change: Amends the Marketable Title Act to require that any instrument or notice which is intended to preserve a previously created interest in real property must refer to the instrument creating that interest by specific liber and page or other unique identifying number.
Impact: Resolves a long standing title issue created by using warranty deeds with language such as “subject to existing easements and restrictions of record, if any.” Such deed language is intended merely to limit the scope of the deed’s warranty but is often treated as effective notice under the Marketable Title Act. Through the MLTA’s direct sponsorship, the Act was brought into compliance with the model act and with similar acts in neighboring states.
(Editor’s note: The MLTA Legislative Steering Committee, a relatively low profile, small group of veteran title professionals, has done yeomen duty for years, representing the MLTA Board of Directors and Membership, attending hearings and meeting with regulators and legislators with considerable success!)