So, your friend asked you if you could witness their signature in the presence of an online notary. What do YOU, as the witness, need to know before saying, “sure”?
I’ll tell you.
First, it is important to note that you are not required to be in the physical presence of the online signer at the time of signing.
Next, are you eligible to act as a witness? To be eligible to act as a witness, you must be at least eighteen (18) years of age, a U.S. Citizen and have a valid (not expired) driver license, passport, or other identification in accordance with Florida Law. Florida is one of the few states that permits the use of an expired driver license, but this is ONLY for in-person notarizations at this time. For information regarding acceptable forms of identification, please visit Chapter 117 Section 05 – 2022 Florida Statutes – The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov). There may be additional requirements for witnesses depending on the documents being executed. For example, it may be recommended that the witness is not related to the signer by blood or marriage; and/or the witness is not named in the document being signed.
Subject to the document(s) being signed, a witness may need to undergo an online identity screening in accordance with Florida Law just like the principal signer. A witness will also need access to a computer, smartphone or iPad with internet capability and an email address even if the signer is physically present with the signer at the time of the remote notarization. Some witnesses gain access to the executed documents once they have been completed, therefore you may want to confirm with the signer, if these documents are confidential.
Are you, as an online witness, computer savvy? This is not a requirement, but it may be helpful. Individuals acting as an online witness will be responsible for logging into the online signing and adopting an online signature, which can be challenging if the witness is not familiar with technology.
In summary, consider all the requirements of a remote witness before agreeing to act as a witness for a friend, family member or acquaintance such as a neighbor.
Genna Rubolino, FRP, General Manager
Florida Notary Public and Florida Online Notary
Guardian Ad Litem: 15th Judicial Circuit
Please note that I, as the author of this article, am not a licensed attorney and as such cannot offer legal advice. No content of this article/blog post is intended as, nor should it be construed as legal advice.