Updates, Consequences and Coming Attractions

Here's what is going on in my world: the 2020 Legislative Session is at its mid-point. We are all adjusting to the new notarial certificates. Assembly 2020 is right around the corner. Commercial Training is now offered!

For more info, read on……….

Dear Members,

Legislative session. I will be in Tallahassee most of next week to participate in Florida Land Title Association Lobby Days. We will be meeting with individual legislators to discuss specific bills but also to promote the title and settlement industry in Florida. By far, the bills that have our greatest attention are the proposed amendments to Ch. 119 to expand the groups of "agency personnel" that have the option to claim an exemption from the public records law as to documents containing the legal description and related information to their "home." I am very concerned about the unintended consequences of the amendments enacted LAST YEAR and the risks resulting from redaction that are not apparent to the layperson. I am fully supportive of protecting agency personnel against bad people and we need to come up with a better system for doing this. But the move to expand the law without first "fixing" it is not a good idea. Here is a link to the law passed last year:https://www.thefund.com/TheFund/media/Legislative-Update/Ch_2019-012-SB-248-redaction-(1).pdf. The bills filed this year expand the groups to include judicial assistants, county attorneys, members of the Legislature and Cabinet. There are others, too.

New notarial certificates.I hope by now you are all aware that effective January 1, 2020, notarial certificates MUST indicate whether the principal appeared before the notary by means of physical presence or online.I want to hear from you if you are experiencing any difficulties from the clerk of court in your area refusing to record documents based on what the clerk has determined to be is a non-compliant notarial certificate. The law does NOT dictate a particular form be used but there are suggested certificate forms in the statute. Here is a link to a document we prepared to give some simple guidance and allow you to "cut and paste" forms into your documents: https://www.thefund.com/Information-Center/pdf/digital-closings/notarial-certificate-updates

Assembly 2020.You will soon receive announcements and invitations to register for Assembly 2020. I encourage you to attend because the program is better than ever this year! The dates are May 14, 15 and 16, 2020. What other event gives you two days of face to face interaction with 800 other Fund Members from around the state…..and many of the Fund employees that support you every day? This is truly one of the best ways for you to experience being a Fund Member and what it means……...and earn tons of CLE credit at the same time! Here is a link to register TODAY: https://www.thefund.com/assembly.aspx.

INTRODUCING FUND COMMERCIAL TRAINING.In response to Fund members seeking education on how to handle commercial transactions, The Fund is rolling-out Fund Commercial Training, a 2.5-day accredited training session March 23-25, 2020, here at Fund Headquarters in Orlando. The program is presented by the Fund’s Legal Education Department with support from Fund commercial underwriters. Classes are geared to Fund members new to commercial transactions or wishing to expand their residential practices but are hesitant to take on commercial closings. We test-piloted the program last year and received great feedback. Courses are basic-to-intermediate and include sessions on drafting and negotiating the commercial contract, due diligence issues, leasing, attorney opinion letters, commercial survey reads and objections, and so much more. Class size is limited so apply now. A link to apply is here: https://www.thefund.com/TheFund/media/PDFs/FCT-Application-2020.pdf. Any questions? Michael Rothman at mrothman@thefund.com has answers!

All for now! Let me know how we can help you.


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