Potentially. Ordinarily, a closing must be conducted, and all the documents signed, in a Georgia attorney’s physical presence. Anything else is considered unethical by Georgia’s Supreme Court and State Bar. As the Chair of the Real Property Section of the State Bar said recently: “[o]ur Formal Advisory Opinions also do not currently sanction remote closings.”
But these are hardly ordinary times.
With that in mind, the Supreme Court of Georgia suspended the requirement that closings occur in an attorney’s physical presence and specifically allowed lawyers to participate and supervise the closing of a real estate transaction by video conference until December 31, 2021. Virtual closings are now permissible as long as long as the Supreme Court’s order is in effect and there is also a State of Emergency for Continued COVID-19 Economic Recovery as declared by Governor Kemp. The current State of Emergency is scheduled to end October 28, 2021 at 11:59 pm.
So, does that mean you can close over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other videoconferencing apps? Again, potentially.
- If there is a lender involved, then the lender also needs to agree to a virtual closing. Given the state of the pandemic, most lenders we’ve dealt with are happy to accommodate a videoconference closing. Not all do, however.
- Virtual closings are only acceptable if all parties are in the state of Georgia. If you are out of state, then unfortunately a videoconference closing is not an option.
We definitely appreciate and understand everyone’s desire to stay safe and socially distant., and we take everyone’s health seriously. If you would like to close by videoconference, please just let us know and we’ll do everything we can to ensure everyone feels safe and sound.