The new year is quickly approaching and is ushering in a new decade of technology-enabled closings. One of the most important changes is the approval of remote online notarization in the State of Florida.
While electronic signing platforms have been around for several years, their use in Florida real estate closings has been limited because of strict requirements that witnesses and notaries be in the physical presence of the person signing.
The newly enacted Florida Statutes 117 Part II opens this up, setting out the requirements for remote online notarization, and making it possible to perform remote online notarization performed by licensed Florida notaries that are approved to provide remote online notarization services.
Using this new method, clients can sign documents that require a notary from anywhere in the world (as long as they have an internet connection).
The remote online notary process is fairly similar to a traditional signing but with a few key differences:
First, an online notary must by physically located in the State of Florida, but the signing party or any witnesses can be located anywhere in the world.
This means that clients can sign and close their purchase or sale transactions on the go without needing to print documents, meet with a mobile notary, and ship documents to the closing agent.
Second, just like a traditional notary, an online notary can verify a signor’s identity through personal knowledge, but if they don’t have personal knowledge of the person signing, then there is a special process for verifying a signor’s identity remotely:
- First, the signor must submit a digital copy of their ID for the notary to analyze.
- Second, the signor must correctly answer a series of unique questions generated from publically available data sources.
As with any new technology, there are still some details to be worked out, and regulatory guidance is still needed from the State Legislature before these services can be implemented, but it is evident that remote online notarization is a valuable tool to streamline real estate closings in Florida.
While many clients may still prefer to attend closing in person, remote online notarization is paving the way to streamlined remote closings and provides an alternative for clients that are travelling or otherwise unable to attend closing in person.
Our firm is committed to being at the forefront of this newly approved technology, and we encourage you to contact attorneys at Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC or your local real estate attorney for more guidance.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by R. Benjamin Kiekel, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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