Information Center

RON Procedures

1. What if the loan documents prepared by the mortgage lender do not have the new notarial certificate?

Answer:  Coordinate with the lender as you would if the certificate lacked the name of a spouse needing to sign to satisfy Florida’s homestead joinder requirements.  They may send you a revised document, allow you to handwrite the change, or agree with your suggestion to add a separate notarial certificate page you will prepare and attach.  Do not insure a transaction lacking a valid certificate without first discussing it with Fund underwriting counsel.

2. Do we need a separate E&O policy or is our Law Firm E&O sufficient?

Answer:  The statute (Sec. 117.225(7), F.S.) simply requires an online notary public to provide evidence of coverage satisfactory to the Department of State. You may wish to check coverage under your firm’s overall policy, but a standalone policy, which is not cost prohibitive, will likely best meet this requirement.

3. What notarial certificate do we use for a notarization by a consul or embassy?

Answer: Since the statute only establishes the requirements to be followed by a Florida notary public nothing has changed insofar as notarization in a foreign country. Review Fund Title Note 1.04.02 for additional guidance.

4. Will the recorder's office be able to verify the e-notarized document is legitimate, or fraudulent?

Answer:  It is not the responsibility of the recorder to determine if a document is fraudulent.  As for the legitimacy of an electronic document, the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (Sec. 695.27, F.S.) establishes the standards that will guide a recorder in determining the document’s legitimacy and entitlement to recording.

5. If I receive documents that have been RON notarized, what am I looking for to verify they are valid?

Answer: In addition to the elements you review on notarized paper documents, examining the seal to determine if it was a proper notarization is a little different. Relevant information about the seal can be viewed when the computer cursor hovers over the electronic seal.  You must see the full name of the notary public, the words “Notary Public State of Florida”, the expiration date of the notary’s commission, and the notary public’s commission number (Sec. 117.021(3), F.S.).  Do not be concerned if other matters appear such as “signature not verified” as this is not important for your purposes in confirming validity.

Finally, if notarized remotely by a Florida online notary, there must also be  a notation on the document in or adjacent to the seal that it was an online notarization (e.g. “online notary”) per Sec. 117.265(7), F.S.

6. Are estate planning documents, e.g. POA, Affidavit of No FL Estate Tax Due (DR-312), required to reflect the new notarial certificates as of Jan. 1, 2020?

Answer:  Yes.  Although the state-issued forms may not be updated right away, it is up to the notary to conform all non-compliant affidavits before notarization.

7. Do we need to update our Best Practices manuals?

Answer:  Your Best Practices manual should be reviewed and revised as needed on no less than an annual basis.  As of this writing, ALTA has not modified its Best Practices guidelines for RON matters.  In any event, should someone in your office become RON certified, you may want to add that relevant information to your manual.

8. What are the basic steps required for a Florida notary to become certified as a Florida online notary?

Answer: Only an actively commissioned Florida notary can register to become an online notary.  Here are the steps:

  1. Submit a signed and sworn registration to the FL Department of State.
  2. Pay the $10.00 notary registration fee required under Sec. 113.01, F.S.
  3. Identify the notary’s intended RON service provider and confirm to DOS that its technology and processes satisfy the requirements of Chapter 117 and any rules promulgated by DOS.
  4. Complete a 2-hour in-person or online training course covering RON duties, obligations and technology.
  5. Provide evidence satisfactory to DOS that the registrant has obtained a $25,000 bond.
  6. Provide evidence satisfactory to DOS that the registrant is covered by errors and omissions insurance in the minimum amount of $25,000.

9. Must The Fund approve the use of remote online notarization?

Answer: No but if the signer is a non-US citizen you must consult with an underwriting attorney.

10. Can a signer be compelled to use RON?

Answer: No. The principal must voluntarily agree to utilize remote online notarization.

11. Do I need to obtain lender approval if the borrower wishes to sign the loan documents remotely via RON?

Answer: Check the written loan closing instructions and contact the lender for approval to close digitally and utilize RON.