Florida Law Allows Remote Notarization of Estate Planning from July 1, 2020
Florida’s remote signing law went into effect on July 1, 2020, allowing people to notarize their estate planning documents remotely without having to leave their home. The new law now allows remote notarization for all types of estate planning documents, including wills and trusts. Before, Florida law required the physical presence of the witnesses and the notary. When signed otherwise, the estate planning document was deemed invalid.
Interestingly, Florida was one of the states that did not issue an emergency order permitting people to sign their estate planning documents remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, Floridians can now execute their estate planning documents remotely without the need to leave their home. So how does this process work?
The Remote Notarization of Estate Planning Documents Process.
In 2019, state legislators passed legislation permitting the remote signing and notarization of estate planning documents. The first portion of the legislation went into effect on January 1, 2020, permitting remote notarization of certain documents such as deeds and probate pleadings. The second portion of the legislation extended the remote signings to wills and trusts.
Although this process is still very new and many practitioners are learning the ropes, below is generally what one can expect in this process:
- The online notary must be physically present in the state of Florida when notarizing the legal document.
- The witnesses and signer can be located anywhere in the country during the remote signing.
- The remote signing will be governed by Florida law.
- Florida’s remote signing uses both audio and video communication technology to execute the legal document. The Testator or Grantor must have a web camera and microphone in order to complete the remote notarization
- The remote signing process utilizes an authorized remote online notarization service provider.
- The signer must provide proof of identity before signing the document, such as uploading a copy of his or her driver’s license to the notarization platform.
- The notary must be registered and authorized to notarize documents remotely. Otherwise, the remote signing will be deemed invalid.
Florida’s Remote Signing Law in 2020
While the remote notarization law offers many advantages, especially while out of state or during pandemic times such as these, it is still recommended to sign estate planning documents in person. The in-person signing of a legal document will ensure that all the requirements are met to notarize a valid and enforceable document. Moreover, you have the constant oversight of an attorney.
Here at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our estate planning attorney will be pleased to assist you with all your estate planning needs. Although we have decided to take it slow with remote execution of estate planning documents, we will be able to advise you accordingly.
Speak with our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to determine whether you should sign a legal document in-person or remotely. Contact our offices by calling at 727-471-5868.