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Remote Online Notarization Process in Florida

Remote Online Notarization Process in Florida
Elder Law
Jason Neufeld
June 19, 2020
[NOTE: our firm only provides RON services for our clients - not as a stand-alone service]

The 5-Step Florida Remote Online Notarization Process

Technology requirements for remote online notary in Florida: signor/witnesses/notary must be able to speak and see each other the entire time, in real time, secured, with sufficient audio clarity and video resolution. Our remote online notary provider's system provides confirmation of this, allow for affixation / viewing of notarial certificate and signature, has the proper security to ensure no tampering with evidence, and can provide a paper copy of the document.

Step 1: Signor must personally appear (whether in person or via somewhere with sufficient audio/visual equipment - this can be the webcam attached to your laptop, PC, Android or iPhone, etc....).

Step 2: Notary public must check the document for completeness, and notary certificate to determine what kind of notarization is needed (our notary solution provider does this step but, as your elder law attorney who is drafting the estate planning or medicaid planning document, this will be done already).  

Step 3: The online notary must still make sure that the signor understands what they are signing /want to sign. The online electronic notary will also verify the signor's identity.

  • Notary’s Personal knowledge of identity, or signor may provide their Driver’s License / Government ID / Legal Permanent Resident card / Military ID (not expired, or issued within 5 years if expired +ID number, issued by state or federal government), US Passport, or a credible witnesses who knows both the notary and the signor, or two credible witnesses who know the signor and can be identified with proper ID, and swear/affirm that signor is who they are claiming to be.
  • This would literally mean the signor would hold their ID up to the video camera so the online notary can clearly inspect the ID.
  • After the signor’s ID is presented via video/audio solution, you / the signor will answers knowledge-based authentication questions by online platform (80% correct within two attempts, given two minutes per attempt to answer all questions). They will ask you / the signor very personal questions based on public records information.
  • If there is no ID available (and relying on one or more credible witnesses to identify the signor, they must appear before the notary in person (i.e..remote online notarization will not be available).

The Electronic Notary will verify that the signor understands what they are signing and want to sign the document being presented for notarization.

The notary will ask the following five questions at the beginning of the notary proceeding:

1.      "Do you understand and consent to having me conduct a remote online notarization in Florida today?"

2.      "Do you understand that this notarization will be recorded?"

3.      "Are you signing this document of your own freewill?"

4.      "Do you understand the contents of the document you are about to sign?"

5.      "Do you have any questions before we get started?" 

If the signer doesn’t respond intelligibly or has been declared mentally incapacitated by courts, the notary can refuse to proceed. If the signor is incapable of understanding what they are signing,they shouldn’t be signing it and the notary should not be affixing their seal.

Step 4: Record the notarization in an online notary journal. Our electronic notarization journal contains:

-         Date/time of the act

-         Type notarial act (i.e. acknowledgment or affirmation/oath)

-         Type/title of document being notarized

-         Electronic signature of each principal

-         Name/Address of each principal with evidence of their identity (i.e. personally known or type of ID presented)

-         Indication that ID satisfied credential analysis

o   (we do not record social security numbers in the electronic journal)

-         A Live Recording of the notary ceremony(signing, ID, confirming what is being signed and confirmation that principal understands what they are signing, etc…)

-         Must provide copies of the electronic journal entry to: all parties to the notarization, the custodian of a will, any person accepting POA if that POA was notarized by me, the electronic notary, the real estate agent/title insurer (if a real estate transaction).

-         These records are store and maintain for 10 years

Step 5: Complete / Sign / Seal Notary Certificate 

Witnesses must either be in the physical presence of the signor or appear through the same audio/visual provider.  In other words, you can provide your own witnesses who will be on your end of the audio/visual recording, or we can provide the witnesses remotely online as well.

If Witnesses are not Physically Present

If the witnesses are not physically present and only there via audio/visual means, the online notary must ask the principal signor, the following questions:

-         “Are you currently married? If so, name your spouse.”

-         “Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in accessing this video conference today.”

-         “Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in preparing the documents you are signing today.”

-         “Where are you currently located?”

-         “Who is in the room with you?”

The electronic notary has an obligation to consider the answers as the principal’s response may be offered as evidence that the document was signed under duress or by someone without the capacity to understand what they were signing.

However, an incorrect answer may not be the sole basis to invalidate a document.

If the signor is outside of the US, following rules apply:

-         Notary cannot have actual knowledge of the notarial act being prohibited where signor is located (i.e. if we know its illegal to notarize wherever you are trying notarize in the country in which you are currently located, we cannot engage in remote online notarization)

-         Electronic document to be electronically notarized must pertain to matters located within the USA.

-         The notary must always be located within the State of Florida when doing the remote notarization process.

Steps We Take Prior To Your Document Being Notarized Online

     1.      We will draft the documents you need to have notarized (e.g. Revocable Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Personal Services Contract, Pooled Special Needs Trust, Lady Bird Deed) and review it with you to make sure it accomplishes your estate planning, incapacity planning, and/or medicaid planning goals. We will then upload the document along with the front and back of your identification to a solution provider that will analyze and verify the identification.

  1. The Solution Provider then alerts the electronic online notary that the identification has been authorized and documents properly uploaded.
  2. Online notary uses webcam via a live feed to commence the notary ceremony, view ID live before document is signed.
  3. Once connected, the signer electronically signs the document via the online provider (we will provide instructions on how to do this), the notary then affixes their seal.

Jason Neufeld

Jason Neufeld is the Founder and Managing Partner of Elder Needs Law, a Florida estate planning and elder law firm he created in 2017. With more than 15 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including Medicaid planning, estate planning, elder law, probate, Medicare, and life insurance.

Jason received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami — School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar and the Broward County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Rising Star and Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers and among the Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend in 2024.

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