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Quarantined during COVID 19 – How do I get my estate planning documents notarized?

How to Safely get Documents Notarized During a Pandemic

For the indefinite time being, social distancing and staying home are necessary safety measures. However, that does not mean the world stops. People still have needs and documents that must be notarized. There are ways to do that without leaving the house and risking exposure.

Florida Statute sections 117.201-117.305 went into effect on January 1, 2020 and allows notarization to occur remotely once a notary completes an application and training course. Usually, when getting a document notarized, the notary either confirms that they know you personally or verifies your identity by looking at government-issued identification. Now, according to Florida Statute § 117.265, via audio-video communication, a notary can do the same thing with an additional step. If the notary does not know you personally, you can remotely show your government-issued identification and then answer a few questions to confirm your identity. See Fla. Stat. § 117.265; See also Fla. Stat § 117.295. Once that is complete, the notary can watch you electronically sign the document and notarize it from his/her computer. When looking for a notary to provide this online service, look for someone that is a Remote Online Notary, also known as a “RON.” Not all notaries are qualified to perform this service remotely. The lawyers and staff at Chepenik Trushin LLP can help you through this process, keeping you and your loved one’s safe.

If a witness is needed for the signing of your document, you are responsible for providing those witnesses and making sure they are in your presence, but they can maintain a safe 6 foot distance (they don’t necessarily have to be in the same room, just in the line of sight). The Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order AOSC20-16 on March 18, 2020 deeming that notaries do not have to be in the “presence of witnesses for purposes of administering an oath for depositions and other legal testimony, so long as the notary or other qualified person can both see and hear the witness via audio-video communications equipment for purposes of readily identifying the witness.” Chepenik Trushin LLP attorneys can guide you through this process as well.

Chepenik Trushin LLP can accommodate estate planning clients now, including meeting with clients through Zoom and conducting signings in a way that will not create any health risks. We are open. Please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Chepenik Trushin LLP, who are experienced, ready, and willing to help – Bart Chepenik, 305-613-3548 or Brad Trushin, 305-981-8889, we are always available and accessible.

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