Notarial Certificates for Acknowledgements and Jurats

Make sure you comply with new notary and conveyance laws.

Dear Members,

My holiday gift to you is this "must read" posting.  New Notarial Certificates are coming!  This is a "must read" because your real estate documents and related affidavits need to be brought up to date to comply with the new law.

Amendments to the notary law (Chapter 117, Florida Statutes) and the record of conveyance of real estate law (Chapter 695, Florida Statutes) are effective 1-1-20.  There are lots of changes, including the authorization of remote online notarization.  But the focus of today's message is on the notarial certificates for acknowledgements and jurats.

For notarial acts on and after 1-1-20, the notarial certificate MUST state whether the signer personally appeared before the notary by means of physical presence or audio-video communication technology.   The purpose of the change is to indicate whether the notarial act was done with the notary and signer in each other's physical presence OR if the notarial act was conducted through audio-visual communication.  Said simply:  the new law requires the notarial certificate tell us whether the signature and acknowledgement (or affidavit) occurred via remote online notarization.

Use of the NEW notarial certificate prior to 1-1-20 is acceptable so if you get ahead of the game and incorporate the new form into your documents right away, that's fine.  But it is critical to make this adjustment toward the end of the year to be in good shape as of 1-1-20.

You are going to hear from me ad nauseum between now and the first of the year……and probably for a month or so after.  But it is so important that you comply with the law; you run the risk that a clerk may refuse to record a document signed after 1-1-20 with the wrong notarial certificate on it.  You also do not want one of your documents to be determined to have a defective acknowledgment!

So here are today's bullet points:

  • For documents and affidavits signed on or after 1-1-20, you must use the new notarial certificate.
  • If you are a DoubleTime user, you will get an email in mid-December alerting you to the availability of a release that will incorporate the new certificates in your forms.  You should schedule the installation/download of this release based on your office workflow and the optimal time to have the revised language in your forms.
  • We are working on making the changes in ECDT. If you use ECDT, you will get a separate email from me or the support team with information about updating those forms.
  • If you use a closing software other than DoubleTime or ECDT, you will need to check with your software provider to find out how they are handling this change.
  • You will need to "changeout" the notarial certificates in all of your other forms….documents and affidavits.  Here is a link to a Word document containing the revised jurats and acknowledgements directly from Florida Statutes. RON Notarial Certificates
  • It is the date of the signing and the acknowledgement that is operative.  Therefore, a document signed and notarized on or before 12-31-19 may have the current (or "old") certificate.  That's perfectly fine.  And it is perfectly fine even if that document is not recorded until on or
    AFTER 1-1-20.

More in future blog posts.  Fire away with your questions………

My holiday gift to you!


Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
General Counsel and Secretary