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In-Person Paper Notarizations

Am I required by law to maintain a notary journal in Florida?

No, a notary public in the State of Florida is not required to maintain a notary journal. However, if the notary public is performing online notarizations, they are required to maintain an online notary journal pursuant to Chapter 117.245 of the 2020 Florida Statutes.

Recommended best practices for notary journals

Although the State of Florida does not require a notary public to complete a notary journal by law, it is considered “best practice” to maintain a notary journal to protect the notary public from lawsuits and potential liabilities. 

 

The following pieces of information are considered “best practice” to collect in a notary journal

  1. Date and time of each notarial act

  2. A description of the document and type of notarial act (e.g., Deed of trust, Acknowledgment) 

  3. The printed full name, signature and address of each person for whom a notarial act is performed.

  4. A description of the identification document, its serial or identification number and its date of issuance or expiration

  5. The fee charged for the notarial service

 

It is important to remember that these “best practices” are just recommendations, and that a notary can include more or less information as long as they remain compliant with their State code. 

Remote Online Notarizations

Is Remote Online Notarization (RON) approved in the State of Florida?

Yes, notaries in the State of Florida are authorized to perform remote online notarizations

Do I have to record the Remote Online Notarization session?

Yes

What is the retention period for RON recordings?

10 years

"The electronic journal required under subsection (1) and the recordings of audio-video communications required under subsection (2) shall be maintained for at least 10 years after the date of the notarial act. However, a full copy of the recording of the audio- video communication required under subsection (2) relating to an online notarization session that involves the signing of an electronic will must be maintained by a qualified custodian in accordance with chapters 731 and 732"

Do I have to log RON sessions in a journal?

Yes

"An online notary public shall keep one or more secure electronic journals of online notarizations performed by the online notary public."

Journal format

Electronic journal only

"An online notary public shall keep one or more secure electronic journals of online notarizations performed by the online notary public."

Journal entry requirements

  • (a) The date and time of the notarization.

  • (b) The type of notarial act.

  • (c) The type, the title, or a description of the electronic record or proceeding.

  • (d) The name and address of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding.

  • (e) Evidence of identity of each principal involved in the transaction or proceeding in any of the following forms:

  1. A statement that the person is personally known to the online notary public.

  2. A notation of the type of government-issued identification credential provided to the online notary public.

  • (f) An indication that the principal satisfactorily passed the identity proofing.

  • (g) An indication that the government-issued identification credential satisfied the credential analysis.

  • (h) The fee, if any, charged for the notarization.

Journal retention

10 years

"The electronic journal required under subsection (1) and the recordings of audio-video communications required under subsection (2) shall be maintained for at least 10 years after the date of the notarial act. However, a full copy of the recording of the audio- video communication required under subsection (2) relating to an online notarization session that involves the signing of an electronic will must be maintained by a qualified custodian in accordance with chapters 731 and 732"

RON recordings & journal upon death

"The online notary public, a guardian of an incapacitated online notary public, or the personal representative of a deceased online notary public may, by contract with a secure repository in accordance with any rules established under this chapter, delegate to the repository the online notary public’s duty to retain the electronic journal and the required recordings of audio-video communications, provided that the Department of State is notified of such delegation of retention duties to the repository within 30 days thereafter, including the address and contact information for the repository. If an online notary public delegates to a secure repository under this section, the online notary public shall make an entry in his or her electronic journal identifying such repository, and provide notice to the Department of State as required in this subsection"

Reference Links

Helpful resources for Florida Notaries

  1. Florida Notary Laws

  2. “A Notary’s Guide to Completing Journal Entries”

Disclaimer

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites.  Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser

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