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Law

FL House Bill 483

Notary Law Update: FL House Bill 483

State: Florida

Summary:
House Bill 483 makes the official witnessing of certain electronic documents a notarial act and subject to the procedures required for an online notarization.

Signed:  June 29, 2021

Effective:  June 29, 2021

Chapter: 2021-202

Affects:
Amends Sections 117.201, 117.285, 709.2119, 732.401, 732.503, 732.521, 732.703, and 747.051 of the Florida Statutes.

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that supervising the witnessing of an electronic record by an online Notary under FS 117.285 is considered a notarial act.
  2. Requires a Notary to verify the identities of the witnesses in accordance with the procedures for identifying a principal for in Florida Statutes Section 117.265(4).
  3. In addition to a health care directive, a waiver of spousal rights and a power of attorney authorizing any of the transactions listed in Florida Statutes 709.2208, clarifies that a Notary must ask the qualifying questions required under Florida Statutes 117.285(5)(d) if the document also is a revocable trust with testamentary aspects as described in Florida Statutes 736.0403(2)(b) or an agreement concerning succession if fewer than two witnesses are physically present.
  4. Modifies the notarial certificate form for a self-proved will under Florida Statutes 732.503.
Analysis:

When Florida enacted its online notarization statute in 2019, it also enacted provisions related to the witnessing of electronic records, such as the witnessing of a will, for which a Notary may be involved. The effect of House Bill 483 is to clarify that online notarization procedures still apply in circumstances where an electronic document requires witnesses but not notarization. Further, the bill makes an online Notary’s supervision of an electronic record’s witnessing is a notarial act. And, in one of the more important provisions of the bill, HB 483 expands the types of documents for which the online Notary must ask the following questions of the signer: (1) Are you currently married? If so, name your spouse. (2) Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in accessing this video conference today. (3) Please state the names of anyone who assisted you in preparing the documents you are signing today. (4) Where are you currently located? (5) Who is in the room with you? The statute requires an online Notary to consider the responses to these questions in carrying out the requirement of Florida Statutes 117.107(5), which prohibits the Notary from notarizing a signature on a document if it appears that the person is mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the document at the time of notarization.

Read the bill text.

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