Handle your Florida Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning Documents without leaving the house!

Attorney Jason Neufeld has completed the Florida State-Required Online Notary Education. As of January 1, 2020, HB 409, “Electronic Legal Documents” was signed into law amending Fla.Stat. 115.05 (pertaining to Notary Publics in Florida). The full online notarization law is provided in Fla.Stat. 117.201 et seq.

While Elder Needs Law, PLLC has its main offices with elder law attorneys in Aventura, FL and elder law attorneys in Plantation, FL (with of-counsel elder law attorneys in South Miami and Brandon/Tampa), we are able to work with physically and cognitively capable adults throughout Florida through remote online notarization (also known as electronic notarization). We have been helping people with Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning statewide since our inception, but our non-local clients have had to get documents witnessed and notarized on their own.

Elder Needs Law, PLLC Can Help You Get Your Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning Documents Remotely Notarized Anywhere in Florida

However, as of January 1, 2020 (and July 1, 2020 for Wills, Revocable Trusts, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, Living Will)),we can help you get many estate planning and medicaid planning documents signed, witnessed and notarized in the comfort of your own home – provided you have a smartphone, laptop, or PC with a video camera (i.e. if you can “Facetime” with your iPhone or make video calls on “WhatsApp” with your Android cell phone, we can get your documents remotely notarized online).

We can also provide witnesses. If you are providing witnesses, they cannot have financial interest or be parties to the transaction taking place.

But Remote Online Electronic Notarization Are Not Available to Vulnerable Adults in Florida

Importantly: if you are a vulnerable adult as defined in Fla.Stat. 415.102, you may not get a document electronically notarized.

Florida Statutes defines“Vulnerable adult” as a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.

If the document to be electronically signed is a Last Will, Trust, Healthcare Advanced Directive, Waiver of spousal rights or a Power of Attorney (involving any of the above), additional procedures apply --The Remote Online Notary Provider will ask the signor the following questions before they sign:

-         “Are you under the influence of any drug or alcohol today that impairs your ability to make decisions?”

-         “Do you have any physical or mental condition or long-term disability that impairs your ability to perform the normal activities of daily living?”

-         “Do you require assistance with daily care?”

If any are answered or observed to be “yes,” then the signature MUST be witnessed by those in the physical presence of the principal signer at the time of signing (the witnesses cannot be remotely or electronically). In fact, if the answers are yes, the remote online notary must say:

NOTICE: If you are a vulnerable adult as defined in s. 415.102, Florida Statutes, the documents you are about to sign are not valid if witnessed by means of audio-video communication technology. If you suspect you may be a vulnerable adult, you should have witnesses physically present with you before signing.

What this practically means is that many of my Medicaid-planning clients who need home-health care, assisted living facility care, or skilled-nursing home care, will not be able to take advantage of electronic notarization.

However, if you are physically and cognitively healthy and well, you can participate in the online /electronic witnessing and notarization process.

There are two types of electronic notarization in Florida:

1.      Document itself is electronic and the person signing physically appears before the electronic notary

  • The signor’s document is uploaded online
  • The signor appears in the notary’s physical presence
  • The document is notarized online

2.      The notarization is completely online. The signor signs using audio-visual equipment and not in the physical presence as the electronic notary.

  • The signor’s document and ID is uploaded online to an approved notary solution provider platform.

Types of Remote Online Notary Acts

1.      Acknowledgment: notary is affirming that the signor has acknowledged signing the document. The signor needs to be face-to-face with the notary (in physical presence or online) to confirm / acknowledge that they signed the document, even if not in the notary’s presence.

2.      Oath/Affirmation: Jurat Certifying: the signer personally appeared at the time of the notarization; notary positively identified the signer via personal knowledge, ID or witness; notary witnessed the signor actually sign the document; and the signor swore or affirmed that the contents of the document were true (“do you solemnly affirm, on your honor, that the statements in this document are true?”). F.S. 117.05(13).

To learn more about the Remote Online Notary Process in Florida, click the link. To schedule a consultation to get your important estate planning (Wills and/or Revocable Trust); incapacity planning (durable power of attorney, health care advanced directives); or Medicaid planning underway, please call to schedule a consultation today.

Additional Resources

Additional Florida Remote Online Notary Information.