If you deal in any sort of business requiring official documentation being signed by one or more parties, you know the importance of having a notary present to witness the signing so it’s official. And with recent advances in technology, you can actually have a document notarized remotely through online audio-visual communication, so the notary doesn’t even have to be physically present to witness the signing. This practice is called remote online notarization.
As a quick refresher, the basic role of a notary is to prevent fraud by ensuring that the person signing the document is who they say they are and that the signer fully understands what they are signing and are doing so willingly.
There are two common notarial certificates that must be signed under the notary’s supervision; an acknowledgment, which is a declaration that the signer is signing the document of their own free will, and a jurat, which requires the signer to affirm or swear to the truthfulness of the contents of the document.
Because of the rise of virtual notarization, the Department of State’s office ruled that new additional certificate wording must now be utilized by Florida notaries, which took effect on January 1st, 2020. According to Florida Statutes Section 117.05, the additional language requires that both the acknowledgment and the jurat specify whether the signer appeared before the notary physically or via online notarization.
Notaries who wish to perform online notarization through audio-visual communication technology must complete a 2-hour education course, pay a fee and register with the Department of State, meet Florida’s technology requirements, post a $25,000 bond, and obtain a $25,000 errors and omissions insurance policy.
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