Florida legislation adopted rules that allow people who are preparing their estate planning documents to sign and notarize them electronically. Finding a Notary who is able to sign and witness your wills, trusts and codicils remotely through the internet might make it more convenient to execute critical documents, as noted by the National Notary Association.

House Bill 409 modifies Florida’s existing notary statutes by including provisions that enhance the definition of how you may “appear before” or act “in the presence of” a Notary. As a testator, you may now legally appear in front of a Notary to validate your estate documents using the internet and other modern communication devices. This includes the use of a computer, laptop or a mobile phone connected to the internet.

To validate documents electronically in Florida, you must appear before a Notary who is available and present in real-time and online through a two-way communication device, and:

  • Authorize the Notary to perform a remote document notarization
  • Allow the Notary to confirm your identity electronically
  • Bring in additional witnesses if you or your loved one is a “vulnerable adult”
  • Ensure that a remote witness hears you sign and acknowledge that the document is executed electronically
  • Permit the Notary to electronically record, secure and archive the session
  • Pay a fee of no more than $25 for the remote notarization service

The convenience that online notarization provides is a significant benefit in circumstances in which a testator is immobile or unable to physically visit a Notary. When a will, trust, healthcare directive or other estate planning document needs to be executed quickly or when relatives are in different locations, a Notary who performs electronic services may help avoid serious problems.

This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.