January 2, 2015

Notary changes in 2015 - SB-1050

When a notary acknowledges a document, the verbiage in the notary block is statutorily required to contain certain information.  For example, the California Civil Code specifies what must be in an acknowledgement and what must be in a jurat. In the case of an acknowledgement, previously the notary block was as follows: 

State of California
County of __insert county___

On __insert date___ before me, __insert notary's name___, __insert title, e.g. Notary Public___, personally appeared __insert signatory's name__, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

Signature ______________________________ (Seal)

In light of the SB-1050's passage, effective January 1, 2015, the notary block must now contain a legible disclaimer at the top of the acknowledgment in a box that reads:

"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."

Therefore, for an acknowledgement and a jurat executed now and hereafter, the notary block must contain the two above aspects. Otherwise, the notary is invalid for failing to comply with statutory formalities.

For reference, this new law did not change the amount a notary can charge per signature. The maximum fee remains at $10. Furthermore, it should be noted that this $10 fee is per signature. It is not per visit with the notary. For instance, if a husband and wife are closing a home purchase and 14 signatures are needed, the notary charge up to $140 (14x10). The notary is not required to charge only $20 or $10. I had to convey a similar sentiment to somebody who called my office and needed such done.

Conversely, the notary is not required to charge a fee at all. The notary can simply to do it charitably although the only cases I have heard about a notary doing this is for family, friends or the attorney is a notary who notarizes documents for a client (myself).