On July 1, 2020, remote online notarization of wills and estate documents will go into effect in Florida. See Florida Ch. Sec. 117.201 et seq. Remote online notarization has already been in effect for other types of legal documents. In the past, ensuring the validity of estate documents required the physical presence of a certified notary. Now, a notary can certify these documents remotely using audio-visual technology. The technology must be real-time and allow for the participants to see, hear, and talk with one another. In addition, the video transaction must be recorded and preserved.
What Estate documents can be remotely notarized starting July 1st?
- Revocable trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Health care surrogate designations
- Living wills
- Medicaid documents
- And more
What is the Remote Notarization Procedure?
The process is relatively simple as long as you have access to an audio- and video-enabled device. With “Facetime,” “Zoom,” or “Skype,” you can have estate planning documents signed, witnessed, and notarized without leaving home. The online notarization procedure consists of six steps:
- Receipt of documents: A registered and authorized online notary (not a traditional notary) receives documents to be signed and notarized.)
- Authentication: The statute requires that the online notary authenticate the communications. The identity of the signer will be verified through means of various authentication protocols. These protocols may include verification emails; the signer might sign into the notary’s website and respond to questions, etc. Similarly, witnesses must also go through an authentication process.
- Two-way video conferencing: The notary and all other parties join in a two-way video conference; witnesses must either be with the notary or the signer. For authentication purposes, the signer and witnesses will be asked various questions.
- Identification: As in the past, unless known personally to the notary, the signer — and witnesses — must provide proof of identity.
- Signature and notarization: While everyone watches, the signer signs and the notary electronically notarizes the documents.
- Record keeping: The notary saves and retains the audio/video recording.
Limitations for Remote Notarization
Note that remote notarization is not appropriate for all circumstances. For instance, certain individuals defined by statute as “vulnerable adults” cannot have documents electronically notarized. “Vulnerable adults” are those who suffer mental impairment, such as from brain damage or “infirmities of aging.” Such limitations may impact clients in nursing homes and other care facilities. Therefore, such persons must pursue face-to-face notarization with a traditional notary.
Call Boyer Law Firm to Discuss your Estate Planning Needs
A last will and testament and other estate planning documents are important for everyone at every stage of life. The first step is obtaining guidance from an experienced and reputable Florida estate attorney at Boyer Law Firm, P.L. If you have questions about remote online notarization, please call (407) 574-2573 or submit our secure contact form. Appointments are available only by telephone or video conference. We proudly serve clients in the communities of Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami and New York City.