With a new year came a new change to the Florida notary statute. Beginning on January 1, 2020, remote online notarization procedures are now authorized for real estate closing documents and other documents that require a notary acknowledgment. Previously, a notary and a person signing a document requiring a notary acknowledgment had to be in the same physical location and in close proximity to each other. In recent years, technology has progressed to the point where some documents could be executed electronically by both the signatory and the notary, but both parties still had to be in the same location. However, the same location and close proximity are no longer required with the new change.
The Florida Statutes define online notarization as the performance of a notarial act using electronic means in which the principal appears before the notary public by means of audio-video communication technology. Such communication technology must meet certain statutory requirements and must provide for real-time, two-way communication using electronic means in which participants are able to see, hear, and communicate with one another. Online notaries will contract with third-party provides for this communication technology and the related services necessary for remote online notarization. These third-party providers will also provide credential analysis and identify proofing, which are both required when an online notary does not personally know the person signing a document. Credential analysis affirms the validity of a government-issued form of identification, and identity proofing affirms the identity of an unknown individual through a knowledge-based authentication process consisting of 5 questions about the unknown individual from public and proprietary sources.
In addition to these technology requirements, someone who is already a notary must also satisfy other requirements before they are authorized to serve as an online notary public. These additional requirements include: completing a course covering the duties, obligations, and technology requirements for serving as an online notary; submitting an online notary registration to the State of Florida; identifying the third-party provider that the online notary intends to use, and confirming that the chosen provider satisfies the statutory requirements; and providing proof of a $25,000 bond and errors and omissions insurance covering acts as an online notary.
One of our experienced attorneys can help you with your notarization questions, as well as closing your real estate transactions.