November 25, 2014
by Sonia A. Plesset
The Wolf Firm, A Law Corporation – USFN Member (California)
On August 15, 2014, the California legislature passed SB 1050, which creates new requirements for statutory notices of acknowledgment, proofs of execution, and jurat forms used by the state’s notaries public.
The bill amends existing California Civil Code Sections 1189 and 1195, as well as Government Section 8202, which govern the form and content of these notices. The new law, effective January 1, 2015, requires that the forms include the following language in a box directly above the notary’s seal: “A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.”
While there is no font requirement, the notice must be “legible.” There is also some flexibility with regards to the format of the boxed notice, which is incorporated into each statute for “illustration purposes only.”
The purpose of the new law is to reduce opportunities for fraud, based on the representation by unscrupulous individuals that a notary’s stamp constitutes proof of the validity or enforceability of the underlying instrument. By adding the prescribed statement, the legislature hopes to dispel the notion that a notary stamp is anything more than the verification of one’s identity. While the current wording of the notary seal does provide that it is merely an attestation of the identity of the one signing, the legislature felt that a stronger statement was needed in order to protect the general public.
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