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Are Electronic Signatures Always Acceptable?

Confusion arises as to whether handwritten signatures are necessary, or whether electronic signatures are always acceptable when you are recording an instrument in the Public Records of Collier County. Florida authorizes two separate and distinct methods of recording documents.

One method is under the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. Sect. 695.27, Fla. Stat. These electronic real property records are recordable when received in electronic form, and the signatures may be electronic. The second method, is the traditional recording method as authorized under Sect. 28.222 (3)(h), Fla.  Stat.

The Uniform Real Property Electronic Records Act was adopted to allow for the recording of electronic documents pertaining to real property in Florida. The Act, authorizes a county recorder to receive, index, store, archive, and transmit electronic documents, Sect. 695.27 (4). An electronic document is one that is received in an electronic form. Sect. 695.27 (2)(c). Accordingly, the provisions of the Act are limited to those documents that are eRecorded through the recording portal. The Act does not do away with the recording of paper documents or the requirements or formalities required when paper documents are presented to be recorded.

To the contrary, the Act expressly provides that a county recorder who accepts electronic documents for recording, shall continue to accept paper documents as authorized by state law. Sect. 695.27 (4). Consequently, two separate and distinct methods of recording are established – electronic recording under Sect. 695.27, and the recording of paper documents pursuant to and in accordance with Sect. 28.222 (3)(h) which would require a notarized signature or signature in person at the counter.