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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
February 16, 2020

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 10 Issue 2; February 2020


This is our monthly newsletter. We publish this for the benefit of FALDP members, legal document preparers, and friends. Published monthly since May, 2010

Announcements

Annual Membership Drive

Learn more and register to join on our Membership page. And, you can watch our "Why FALDP?" video here.

Whiteboard Video Animations

Our whiteboard video animation special offer ended on February 15th, but we're still going strong Our videos are through Monarch Web Strategies, a division of Horizon Research Network LLC A 3 minute video is still only $250. Your message, your branding -- our creativity. Did you know that webpages with video get more hits than pages with other types of content?

Check out the videos on our FALDP on YouTube channel to get an idea of the possibilities. And don't forget to subscribe!


Remote online Notary

For the first time, Floridians can execute wills online, and notaries can affix their seals and signatures to legal documents signed out of their presence, if they witness the signature via live, two-way video links. Third-party witnesses needed for wills and other documents may also appear remotely.

You must be an existing notary public, a civil-law notary appointed under chapter 118, or a commissioner of deeds appointed under part IV of chapter 721.

Only those who are currently an active notary public may register to become an online notary public.

 

You must complete the online education training course and receive a certificate to be submitted with your registration.To register as an online notary public, you must first complete the online education training course and receive a certificate of completion to be attached to your registration application.

You are required to contract with the appropriate third party vendors BEFORE applying.To apply to be an online notary public, you must first have a contract with a company that will provide you with the technological support needed to perform online notarizations. This company must provide you with:

1. The technology to be used in attaching or logically associating an electronic notarial certificate, signature and seal to an electronic document;
2. The technology to be used in conducting identity proofing and credential analysis;
3. The technology to store and maintain a recording of the video and audio conference of the online notarization session.

The Florida Department of State does not recommend nor endorse any particular third party vendors. The basic requirements for vendors’ technology are found under Chapter 117, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 1N-7001, Florida Administrative Register. You must review the applicable statute and rules before applying.Remote Online Notaries Public are governed by several new rules and statutes as well as the existing notary rules.

Your remote online notary public commission expires with your notary public commission.In your application you are required to provide the dates of your current notary public commission and expiration. These must match those on file with the Secretary of State. Your online notary public registration will run concurrently with your existing notary public commission and will expire on the same day, regardless of when the online notary public registration was filed. Should you successfully reapply to be a notary public, you will then be allowed to reapply to be an online notary public.

To learn more see Notary Rules - RON


New Jurat

Due to the new notary rules and the Remote Online Notary (RON) process, Florida has introduced a new jurat (notary area) to be used on forms that require notarization. The information here is only applicable to individuals, there are different jurats for corporations, etc.

Florida Statute 695.25 Short form of acknowledgment.—The forms of acknowledgment set forth in this section may be used, and are sufficient for their respective purposes, under any law of this state. The forms shall be known as “Statutory Short Forms of Acknowledgment” and may be referred to by that name. The authorization of the forms in this section does not preclude the use of other forms.

(1) For an individual acting in his or her own right:
STATE OF
  COUNTY OF 
 The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me by means of ☐ physical presence or ☐ online notarization, this   (date)   by   (name of person acknowledging)  , who is personally known to me or who has produced   (type of identification)   as identification.
   (Signature of person taking acknowledgment) 
    (Name typed, printed or stamped)
     (Title or rank)
     (Serial number, if any)


Immigration - Changes to Public Charge Rule

Immigration Update - The Public Charge Rule goes into effect on February 24, 2020


What will change under the new DHS “public charge rule”?

DHS plans to dramatically expand the definition of “public charge,” so that green card and other visa applicants could be denied not for being “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence” (the current standard) but instead for being “more likely than not” to use certain public benefits at any point in the future.

It’s important to understand that the great majority of people applying for green cards are not even eligible for the very benefits that the DHS public charge rule seeks to penalize.

 To learn more, check the USCIS website, and read these blog articles: Public Charge Rule Goes Into Effect February 24, 2020


Changes in Civil Court

On January 1, 2020, changes in Florida state law and the Florida Rules of Procedure went into effect, changing where a variety of court actions are heard.

  • County court jurisdictional thresholds increase to $30,000 on January 1, 2020, and to $50,000 on January 1, 2023.

  • Small claims cases on January 1, 2020, will include cases up to $8,000

  • Filers will be required to include a civil cover sheet specifying the dollar amount in dispute in cases exceeding $8,000 in value.

  • The new law maintains current rules that limits the provision of subsidized court mediation services to county court cases with an amount in controversy up to $15,000.


  • Feature Article:

    4 WAYS TO BUILD TRUST WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

    What efforts do you take to build trust with your customers? Building solid, trusting relationships with your customer base is one of the best ways to retain them.

    Research shows that retaining customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. The longer a customer is loyal, the more money they spend. What does that mean for your business income? Studies suggest that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent increases profits by 25-95 percent.

    Building trust with your customers is worthwhile and profitable.

    1. Communicate with customers on a regular basis.Communications with your customer base should not revolve solely around purchasing. If customers feel like every communication is a sales push, before long, your attempts to connect will get ignored and you’ll dash any hope of building trust.

    Instead, communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Consider emailing a regular newsletter, sharing links to helpful articles on your social media channels or providing how-to articles on your blog. Customers appreciate useful information that makes their lives a little better.

    2. Provide quality customer service.

    One of the best ways to gain trust is to offer your customers service they can’t find anywhere else. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your in person service is top-notch:

  • Make sure your staff is friendly.
  • Create a welcoming environment that keeps customers coming back.
  • Train employees to nurture your customer relationships.
  • Don’t assume employees know how to interact with your audience, show them.
  • Collect and use feedback. Ask your customers to provide feedback and use it to implement changes that can improve their experience. Collect feedback in person and online.
  • Show gratitude. Make sure your customers know that you appreciate them. Send exclusive deals to your most valued customers, host a customer appreciation event and set up a loyalty program that rewards your customers for their continued support.
  • 3. Consider providing customer support on social media.With so many of your customers being on social media, using these platforms to offer service and support is quickly catching on. You can help your customers through social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Your online service should compliment your in person service efforts.

    4. Own up to mistakes.Customers reward companies that are honest and transparent. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Mistakes happen. Research shows 95% of complaining customers will forgive a company if a problem is resolved in the next interaction. So, in addition to being honest, you also need to act quickly. Customers deserve and expect swift solutions.


    New Logo Display Guidelines

    Display the FALDP logo

    FALDP logo: As of our conference in October 2018 we decided that all members who have a website are required to display the FALDP logo on their sites. We are making a special marketing effort to distinguish FALDP members from document preparers who are not FALDP members. The goal is to show the world that FALDP members are the best possible choice for document preparation.

    New FALDP logo display guidelines:

    For some time we've considered upgrading the FALDP logo display requirements. One of the main reasons is to give consumers a bit more understanding of what we are, rather than a logo with no explanation. We will create a short video similar to the ones shown here for each member. We intend to start with existing members who have a website, and/ or are active on social media; and new members. The idea is to replace the static logo with the short video. Once we create the logo video, we'll send you the embed code and the share link. Since the logo video is on your site or your social media, we don't intend to include your contact information as that will already be displayed. Here are a couple of examples: You Tube video logo - fcf and You Tube video logo - ftp

    We don't want to make this cumbersome for anyone. If you need help adding this to your site, please let us know, we'll help you find a low cost solution.

    We're rolling out our new video logos for FALDP members. These are to be used on members' websites, online advertising, and in social media. The video logos provide a bit more information about our association, instead of a static FALDP logo with no explanation. Static FALDP logos are still available to be used in your print advertising such as business cards and newspaper ads.

    FALDP Members – to request your video logo, please send your logo image (if you have one) and your coverage area to FALDP2010@gmail.com . Coverage areas can include your county, your three couties on the Member Directory, or all of Florida. If you prepare documents outside of Florida, we may be able to include that as well with a phrase like – Also Serving the Entire U.S. for a certain type of service. Remember, we are a Florida trade association and will not mention other states or locations, unless we first mention Florida.


    Parenting Course Affiliate Opportunity

    Our Parenting Course Affiliate Program is here. All FALDP members who refer divorcing/ separating parents to our FALDP endorsed Parenting Course can participate. No need to sign up. Consumers pay $29.99 or $14.99 for low income and indigent. Referrers receive $3.00 for every full pay referral, and $1.50 for low income/ indigent referral. When consumers enroll in the course, have your customers enter your name as the referring party, and keep track of who you referred. Send us an invoice by the 10th of the month for all referrals in the previous month, and we'll send you your affiliate compensation. We can send payment through Google Pay or Paypal only. And, remember it is up to you to send us an invoice or request for payment. Simple?


    Reminders

    Business presence in Florida

    Don't forget to renew your Limited Liability Company. Notices went out from the Division of Corporations already. You have until May 1 to renew without penalty.

    Business presence in Florida - Members who are not physically in Florida are required to maintain a business presence in Florida. This means if you are physically located out of state, you must either form a Florida corporation or Florida LLC, or register as a foreign entity.

    Mandatory Course - Avoid UPL!

    Most members have completed this course by now. If you have not yet taken this course, please do so as soon as possible. This is a Members Only course. If you did not purchase this course when you joined, you can register for it inside the Members Only area. Any member who has not taken this course by renewal time, will be required to pay for it a second time. Members who have not completed the course by July 31 may be suspended. Suspension means that your information will be removed from the Member Directory and you'll be required to remove the FALDP logo from yur advertising. Members are required to take this course every year. It is your responsibility to let us know you've completed the course by taking the quiz, completing the essay, and/ or submitting the exit survey. If you have any question as to whether you completed the course - contact us. This course was designed to protect our members from falling into the vast sea of nothingness and confusion, also called a UPL investigation.

    Watch the updated course video: Avoid UPL! Course information

    Ruth Recommends:

    Orlando Pennysaver

    Direct mailed portion includes FIVE 55+ communities in Orlando, homes in Metro West, Conway, Goldenrod, Lee Vista, East Orlando/ Waterford Lakes, Azalea Park, Lake Underhill, Pine Hills & Casselberry.

    Direct mailed & distributed twice a month. (Compare to monthly publications!) Delivered to homes through the USPS and in mailboxes every other Friday.PLUS Your ad will appear in our most recent online issue.

    Visit - Orlando Pennysaver and tell them you saw their information in our newsletter.

    Apache OpenOffice

    OpenOffice is a robust program comparable to Microsoft Word. It is also FREE. You can get it here: open office download

    Foxit PDF Program

    I highly recommend Foxit Reader as a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat. One of the best features (besides that its free) is that the typewriter allows you to type into most PDF documents, even though they're not fillable.

    TSYS - Merchant Account

    I highly recommend TSYS to use for your business merchant account. Compared to Paypal - much less expensive, light years better customer service, and far more convenient. Give me a call, and I'll put you in touch with my account representative. 800-515-0496.

    Parenting Course

    Parental Education and Family Stabilization Course is mandatory for all divorcing couples who have children; and all people seeking a paternity action. The cost is $29.99 and $14.99 for indigent.Here's the link directly to the - Parenting Course

    Private Investigation Services

    Do you or your document preparation customers need help from a Private Investigator: Dan Womack can help with locations for child support, missing spouse, and other services. Dan is a licensed Florida Private Investigator and a former FALDP member. Contact him directly Womack PI Office: (772) 672-4844
    Fax: (772) 672-7130

    Freedom Voice

    I also highly recommend Freedom Voice for your toll free service. I have used Freedom Voice for the past eight years, and have never had an issue with their service. Learn more here - Freedom Voice

    Don't have a site yet? Try Monarch Web Strategies

    Horizon Research Network is one of our associated sites which includes our design services. We build business websites for FALDP members for only $500, which includes your domain name and first month's hosting. And, have you seen our whiteboard videos online?We can create a custom whiteboard video to promote your business. Once built its yours to use in any of your advertising or promotions. Contact us for a custom quote.

    FALDP Private Facebook Group


    About one third of our membership has joined the FALDP private Facebook group. We created it to make it easier to interact with each other. So far, people have given work referrals to one another; asked questions to the group; received help in locating a form; and discussed various issues. If you're working toward FALDP Certification, you earn one CEU just by joining the group. So, what are you waiting for? Look for the private group after going to the official FALDP Facebook page at FALDP,LLC on Facebook.

    Member's Announcements & Contributions

    Have something to share?

    We accept member's announcements and appreciate your contributions. If you have an announcement about your business, an expansion of services, moving your offices, or winning awards, please send us the information and we'll include it in our newsletter. Your announcement needs to be pertinent to your business, we are unable to include announcements about other trade associations, clubs or groups.

    If you would like to write an article, editorial, opinion piece, or web page please let us know. We are always in need of fresh information and insights.


    FALDP Contact Information:
    Main number – (941)237-0951
    Toll free - (800)515-0496
    Email – staff@faldp.org

    PLEASE LINK YOUR SITE TO WWW.FALDP.ORG
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