from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Stand-by for a neat little change to the Illinois Notary Public Act that will likely impact the way we transact real estate closings here in Cook County. Both houses approved SB 0546 as the recent legislative session ended and we are awaiting the Governor's signature. This change, if implemented will require anyone who is selling residential real estate in Cook County will have to present proof of identity, including a thumb print image.

It will fall to the Notaries who witness closing documents to collect this information. We will be obligated to prepare newly devised
"Notarial Records" that will include the "signor's" personal identity information, the aforementioned thumb print and even a certification that the transfer involved "residential" real property (Looks like all those childhood hours with a Dick Tracy Crimestoppers Club Junior Detective kit did not go to waste... where'd I put that thumb print pad anyway?)

The form itself promises to be a fairly simple, but long form and it will slow things down, in my office or at the title company. Don't be surprised when notaries start charging to cover the new paperwork, we can charge up to $25 per record.

Notaries will have to then forward the Records to either the title insurance company or the County Recorder for 7 years safekeeping. The Recorder will (by this law) charge a $5.00 fee to receive the record. The title companies have not yet announced what fees they will charge fees.

This program should reduce the incidences of fraudulent transfers significantly. Then again, there could also be a surge in (ugh) thumb amputations, we will have to just wait and see.

One curiosity wholly unrelated to the merits of the bill: The Governor has not yet signed it into law, but it takes effect July 1. Go figure.