• Monday, March 27, 2023

COVID-19 Information

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is provided as courtesy and general guidance, but is not provided as legal advice by the RPPTL Section or The Florida Bar, and should not be relied upon in any manner.  Each lawyer needs to individually and independently review any information provided and make his/her own determinations as to the validity and appropriateness of such information prior to use. 

November 30, 2020 
September 28, 2020
Free webinar – Virtual Hearings Update – Part II of Statewide Best Practices for Local Government Land Use Hearings
Statewide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines forced local governments to move to virtual and remote meetings, including quasi-judicial land use and zoning hearings. As Florida moves into the phased re-opening plan, local governments must continue to adjust and adapt their virtual hearing practices to address legal requirements and ethical considerations. Part I of this program considered the legal and practical implications of virtual local government meetings and quasi-judicial land use hearings. Part II builds on the previous program, taking a deeper dive into best practices and lessons learned about virtual hearings. In Part II, the same group of land use practitioners and local government attorneys reconvene to discuss the latest in virtual hearing practice in Florida.

July 1, 2020
The “Vulnerable Adult” Exception and the Remote Execution of Testamentary Documents (Submitted by Richard N. Sherrill) – Effective July 1, 2020, Florida law allows for the remote witnessing and notarization of electronic wills and other testamentary documents.  There is, however, an exception which prevents the use of such technology by “vulnerable adults.”  RPPTL Section Member, Richard Sherill, discusses this important “vulnerable adult” exception in this 7 ½ minute video. https://youtu.be/qiUyQ6vWnyw

Remote Online Notary Checklist for Recorded Portion of Notarization of Estate Planning Documents  (Submitted by J. Allison Archbold) - RPPTL Section Member, Allison Archbold has prepared a useful checklist for Remote Online Notaries (RONs) who intend to notarize estate planning documents after July 1, 2020. 

June 24, 2020 
May 27, 2020
(Submitted by Keith Durkin) - The CARES Act authorizes up to $349 billion in government-backed forgivable loans to certain small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). RPPTL Section member, Keith Durkin, has prepared a helpful overview of the PPP program to inform RPPTL members of matters germane to their practices and possible clients.
May 18, 2020
Practical Guide to Becoming a Florida RON (submitted by Salome Zikakis) - If you are a real estate attorney or an estate planning attorney, at least one notary in your office should be a Florida licensed Remote Online Notary. This brief video will go through the steps you need to go through to become a Florida RON and will also provide tips to get you through the process as expeditiously as possible based on the lessons learned from those that have been through the process. You can Google how to become a FL RON, but few things are as simple as they seem.
May 11, 2020
Relief for Taxpayers with Retirement Accounts and Employer Retirement Plans Under the CARES Act (Submitted by Rachel B. Oliver) – In this 12 minute video, RPPTL Executive Council Member, Rachel Oliver, gives a summary of the relief under the CARES Act for taxpayers with IRAs and retirement plans, including the waiver of 2020 Required Minimum Distributions and new rules for Coronavirus-Related Distributions and loans from employer plans.
May 7, 2020
Virtual Hearings – Statewide Best Practices for Local Government Land Use Hearings Original Presentation Date: Wednesday, May 6 – 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (EDT)
Presented by the Environmental and Land Use Law Section, Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, and the City, County, and Local Government Law Section

Statewide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have forced local governments to move to virtual and remote meetings, including quasi-judicial land use and zoning hearings. This new way of operating raises many challenges as well as opportunities. This program brings together (virtually) land use practitioners and local government attorneys from across Florida to discuss the best practices and potential pitfalls of virtual local government meetings and quasi-judicial land use hearings.
View Video
April 30, 2020 
Remote Online Notarizations in Florida: A Practical Summary (Submitted by Frederick “Ricky” Hearn) – In this 14-minute video, RPPTL Executive Council Member, Ricky Hearn, gives a practical summary of how Remote Online Notarizations (“RON”) actually work in Florida, including a discussion of the interplay between the new statute and recent emergency orders issued by the Florida Supreme Court in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 29, 2020
Revocable Trust Execution Requirements: Is a Notary Needed? (Submitted by Jeff Baskies and Mary Karr) RPPTL Executive Council Members, Jeff Baskies and Mary Karr, clear up some confusion and address the following question in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic: Do Florida revocable trusts need to be acknowledged by a notary to be valid, particularly if the trust holds an interest in real property?
April 17, 2020 
April 14, 2020 
Updated Summary Memorandum of Florida Governor’s COVID-19 Emergency Orders (current through April 10, 2020)  (Submitted by Michael J. Gelfand) – Here is the most recent version of RPPTL Section Past Chair, Michael Gelfand’s summary of Governor DeSantis’s Emergency Orders concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 9, 2020 
Updated Florida Notarization Summary Chart for Documents Executed Prior to July 1, 2020 (addressing remote notaries and witnesses) (Submitted by Jenna G. Rubin) – RPPTL Section member, Jenna Rubin, has updated Allison Archbold’s popular Florida Notarization Summary Chart to include information regarding remote notaries and witnesses. Practitioners should note that this chart applies to documents executed prior to July 1, 2020. The requirements related to remote notaries and remote witnesses for estate planning documents change for documents executed after July 1, 2020. 
Temporary Relaxation of Rules on Remote Swearing in of Witnesses in light of COVID-19 (Submitted by Alexander S. Douglas, II) – On March 18, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order SC 20-16, which implemented emergency procedures for the swearing in of witnesses. In this 3:30 minute video, RPPTL Section Member, Alex Douglas, discusses these temporary procedures in the context of depositions, evidentiary hearings, and how they apply to both in-state and out-of-state witnesses. [April 7, 2020 UPDATE: On April 6, 2020, The Florida Supreme Court extended the time for these temporary procedures through May 29, 2020. See Administrative Order No. AOSC20-23.]
Benefits of e-Recording (Submitted by Amber Ashton) - An important tool during this crisis - Although our recording offices remain open, eRecording will help with social distancing and getting documents of record timely. In this video, Amber Ashton describes the value of eRecording and how it can be accomplished.

Practical Explanation of the Use of Remote Online Notarization to Facilitate Real Estate Transactions (submitted by Laura Licastro) -
Now that the State of Florida is now under a state-wide “Safer at Home” order, how can you close a real estate transaction? This video provides a practical explanation of the use of remote online notarization for real estate documents that must be acknowledged to be recorded in the public records. 
April 3, 2020
Virtual Mediation During the Pandemic (Submitted by J. Richard Caskey) As practitioners get back to work, albeit it remotely, there has been a lot of chatter about online mediation. In this 10 minute video, Rich Caskey, the current Chair of the RPPTL Probate and Trust Litigation Committee, discusses virtual mediation, including the mechanics, confidentiality issues, and other practical tips.
April 2, 2020 
A Primer on Florida Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Designations of Health Care Surrogates, and DNRs (Submitted by Richard N. Sherrill) - The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many questions about how Floridians may delegate their personal and medical decisions. For example, how can a competent adult make advance decisions regarding life-prolonging medical procedures? How can a person designate another individual to make medical treatment decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so? And how can a person delegate authority to another person for non-medical decisions? In this 10 minute video, Board Certified Wills Trust & Estates Attorney and RPPTL Section Member, Richard Sherrill, addresses these important issues in a format intended for laypersons and practicing attorneys. He has also provided a helpful written summary with links to additional resources.   

IRS Now Accepting Digital Image Signatures In Lieu of Originals (Submitted by Rachel Bouchard Chaimowiz and Robert L. Lancaster) – Read about the IRS’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily accepting digital signatures in lieu of originals for certain documents.

March 31, 2020
What the Pros are Doing: Some Advice from Professional Guardians and Care Managers on How to Get Through the Pandemic (Submitted by Nick Curley) RPPTL Guardianship and Advance Directives Committee Chair, Nick Curley, has compiled some practical advice regarding care for Wards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Issues Affecting Commercial Leases (Submitted by Brenda Ezell)
Florida Notarization Summary Chart  (Submitted by J. Allison Archbold) -With “social distancing” guidelines in place, questions have arisen about what documents must be notarized. RPPTL Section Member, J. Allison Archbold, has prepared a helpful reference chart to assist practitioners in navigating these issues. 
March 30, 2020  
Explanation of Condominium, Cooperative and Homeowners Association emergency powers as impacted by DPBR Emergency Order 2020-04 (Submitted by Michael Gelfand)
Explanation of Executive Order 20-83 regarding Suspension of Vacation Rentals (Submitted by Michael Gelfand)
March 27, 2020
March 26, 2020
Practical Thoughts on Remote Notarization, E-Wills, and Will Execution Issues in Light of COVID-19 (Submitted by Sarah S. Butters)
As we all adapt to “social distancing” and remote work environments in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the RPPTL Section has been inundated with questions regarding remote notarization, the status of Florida’s electronic wills statute, and other document execution concerns. The RPPTL Section’s Probate Division Director, Sarah Butters, addresses these and other issues in an 18-minute video from her home in Tallahassee. She discusses the Florida Supreme Court’s March 18, 2020 order regarding remote notary oaths and its application to estate planning, Florida’s recent remote notarization legislation, the status of remote witnessing of electronic wills, and other practical suggestions about the execution and notarization of estate planning documents in light of current events.