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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

California Notary Law Changes January 1, 2008

Notary Public law in the state of California has changed yet again.....The new changes appear reasonable in that they tighten the belt on identifying the signer, include the use of thumb print on power of attorney forms, and increase penalties for notaries that do not follow the law. For the legislation, please see the original text from the California Secretary of State. The latest updates to California Notary Law include:

  • Due to new procedures required of the Department of Justice and Secretary of State in commissioning new notary applicants, the Department of Justice has been granted the right to pass their increased costs to the applicants. ( I guess this will also help cover the cost of their $5.00 meatballs. Joke. I still can't get over the audit of their expense accounts and what tax payers are contributing to.)

  • Notary applicants must now submit a photograph of their person for their commission.

  • Notaries can not use a post office box or commercial mail receiving agency as their principal place of business unless they also provide a physical street address.

  • All notary acts must now demand the signer show proof of identity or two credible witnesses claiming knowledge of their identity. "Personal knowledge" of the signer is no longer acceptable.

  • Any credible witnesses used to identify an individual signer must show proof of their identity. (see above)

  • Notary wording on notarized documents must not contain the words "personally known to me" to comply with the change in identification requirement.

  • All power of attorney notarizations must include a thumb print of the signer in the notary journal.

  • Law enforcement now has the right to seize a notary's journal if there is reasonable suspicion that the journal contains evidence of a crime.

  • Penalties for notaries performing illegal notarizations include higher fines and potential removal of commission.
That about covers the important changes. The changes appear reasonable for this day and age. Using "personal knowledge" of an individual previously has always seemed kind of goofy when you consider the importance of some of the types of documents that require notarization - family trusts, wills, power of attorney, etc.

This is a dry topic, but it is important to stay abreast of legal changes for both the notary and the individual that depends on the notary to do their job flawlessly. This will ensure that the signed document will have its full forth and effect.

I promise the next post will be more fun. In the meantime, if this post has really choked you for dryness, you can scroll down and view the youtube video of John Pinette and laugh yourself back to life again.


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