Amanda Farrell - 3 days ago
Five Surprising Facts About Becoming a Florida Notary
Who doesn’t enjoy a fun fact or two? I recently completed courses to receive both my traditional and remote online notary certifications in Florida. While preparing for my commission as a notary public, I came across some funny and surprising facts and rules about notaries and performing notarial acts. Here are five of them.
1. Florida notaries can solemnize marriages
Florida is only one of four states that allow notaries to solemnize marriages. The other states include South Carolina, Maine, and Nevada. Notaries in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, are also permitted to perform marriages.
In general, a notary’s duties will include:
- Administering oaths or affirmations
- Take acknowledgments
- Take depositions
- Attest to photocopies of certain documents
- Verify vehicle identification numbers (VINs)
- Certify the contents of a safe deposit box
Typically, a notary performs a crucial role in acting as a disinterested party, ensuring the signer understands the content of a document, is willingly signing it, and verifying that signer’s identity. Sometimes, a customer may request a Notary to perform specific duties beyond their primary function or be commissioned in a state with more limitations than others. If there is any question about what can or can’t be done by a notary, it’s best to refer to your state’s statutes or contact your secretary of state as that is the office that instructs notaries on how to perform their duties.
2. Electronic signatures can take many forms
Both Florida’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and Florida admin code 1N-5.001 define an “electronic signature” as an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with an electronic document and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the electronic document. A signer could use their voice to recite their names as a signature, like a 21st-century version of someone who adopts a mark or uses an X to sign.
Some of the other ways to create an eSignature include typing, signing with a stylus on a tablet, attaching or inserting a picture or a sound file, or using specialized software. UETA’s broad definition of an eSignature opens up many possibilities to accommodate signers with disabilities and motor limitations. Many RON platforms have the potential to meet these signers’ needs.
3. NEVER translate the words Notary Public
Not all notary publics have the same training, expertise, or authority in every country. Calling yourself a “Notario Publico,” for example, could be misleading for Spanish speakers since they may assume you have powers you don’t possess. Because the Spanish term for Public Notary carries a different connotation, marketing in other languages is heavily regulated.
4. Don’t get drunk on the job
That goes without saying for most professionals, but in Section 7, Article IV of the Florida State Constitution, drunkenness is explicitly listed among “malfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, or permanent inability to perform duties” as grounds for suspension by the governor.
5. Some notaries are appointed federally
Typically, a notary is commissioned to perform notarial services by their governor. After you’ve been approved, you’ll receive a stamp or seal. This seal that you’ll apply to all the documents you notarize will bear your name, commission number, expiration of commission, your bond agency, and your state. But you may come across some notarized documents with a “federal notary.”
Federal law and many states allow certain personnel working for or with the United States Armed Forces to perform notarizations with only their signature and title. They aren’t required to have a seal at all, but the military recommends using one to enhance the document’s acceptability. If a seal is used, it should include a reference to the federal statute on military notaries. These military notaries include commissioned officers, enlisted paralegals, judge advocates, and civilian lawyers working as legal assistance attorneys.
Should you become a notary?
Becoming a traditional notary is a relatively easy process, but the remote online notarization certification process took a bit more effort to decipher. If you’re thinking of becoming either a traditional or eNotary, be sure to carefully read your state statutes and requirements. Even though the process of becoming a notary is relatively easy, the commission should be taken seriously, and it only takes one mistake to lose your notary commission. Some errors can even carry a financial cost.
If you’re looking for more information on getting started, go to the nationalnotaryassociation.org or your state’s department of state website. For Florida residents, that’s dos.myflorida.com. Becoming a remote online notary usually requires some additional training and some complicated technical steps, so check out your state’s requirements.
ProperSign is a remote online notarization platform designed for notaries, loan signing agents, and title agents. ProperSign users get access to eSignatures, eNotarization, audio/video conferencing, video storage, and more. Try it out, and bring digital closings to your clients.
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