When buyers or sellers live outside of Florida, ensuring that closing documents are properly notarized and witnessed can be a challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple way to have closing documents notarized by the closing agent when a signor can’t physically make it to the closing? Remote online notarization is a new technology that may soon revolutionize the mail away closing process.
Remote online notarization uses a combination of video conferencing, individualized verification questions (knowledge based authentication), and video recording to ensure that the appropriate party is executing documents. Remote online notarization cannot be used for closings in Florida at this time, but implementation and approval of this new technology may become a reality in the coming year.
Currently, notaries in Florida must be in the presence of a signor to properly notarize documents. For out of state signors, attorneys and title companies are forced to rely on out of state notaries who may not be familiar with the requirements of Florida law. Remote online notarization implementation would allow a Florida notary to notarize documents executed by a signor in a different physical location. For example, remote online notarization would allow a notary based in Florida to notarize documents executed by a seller in New York. Remote online notarization could eliminate reliance on out of state notaries who may not have the appropriate understanding of Florida law, and would help to ensure that all closing documents are properly executed in accordance with Florida law.
Many states are pursuing remote online notarization implantation, but thus far, only a handful of states have adopted and approved this new technology for real estate closings. Currently, closing documents executed using remote online notarization are not recognized as valid instruments in Florida. Moving forward, we are likely to see more states implementing remote online notarization, which will result in a greater push for reciprocity between states that have implemented and approved this innovative new technology. We expect to see remote online notarization legislation in Florida’s next legislative session, so stay tuned for updates on this exciting new trend!
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
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