Q: I came across a notary signature with reference to Florida Statute 118.10. Also, the document appears to be notarized in another country. Is this a valid notary acknowledgement?
A: The Florida law provides for a specialized type of notary certification, called an International Notary or Civil Law Notary. There are approximately 150 International Law Notaries appointed in Florida. To become an International Notary, one must be a member of the Florida Bar for at least five, pass an exam, and be appointed by the Florida Secretary of State.
There are several benefits to using an International Notary. For real estate transactions overseas, an International Notary can be used to notarize a Warranty Deed and closing documents for real estate transactions involving property located in Florida. Instead of requiring a Seller to visit an Embassy for notarization of documents, the International Notary has power to notarize a document as if the principal, witnesses, and notary were located in the state in Florida. International Notaries also attest to the validity and content of the document; whereas a regular notary may only attest to the validity of a signature. As a member of the Florida bar, the International Notary can also offer legal advice pertaining to the document being acknowledged or verified.
When reviewing documents recorded in the public records of Florida, you may see an acknowledgement of a Notary pursuant to Florida Statute 118.10. This indicates that the document was notarized by an International Notary of Florida. This acknowledgement is acceptable for all Florida real estate transactions, regardless of whether the document was acknowledged in Florida, overseas, or in international waters. To verify whether a notary is truly an International Notary, search the on-line records at www.myflorida.com.
For any questions or more information, you are welcome to contact your state Underwriting Counsel or FNTI’s Florida Underwriting Counsel directly.