California Notary Law Update
CA Notary Law Update: CA Senate Bill 1050
Senate Bill 1050 is the latest change to the form and wording of the statutory certificates of acknowledgment, jurat and proof of execution prescribed under California law in recent years. SB 1050 adds a prescribed consumer disclosure to each of these certificates.
Signed: August 15, 2014 Effective: January 01, 2015 – Chapter: 197
This amends Civil Code Sections 1189 and 1195, and Government Code Section 8202
The following are changes:
1.Requires the statutory acknowledgment, jurat and proof of execution certificate to contain a prescribed consumer disclosure in a box at the top of each certificate.
2.Requires the prescribed disclosure to be legible.
3.Clarifies that the physical format of the boxed notice in the new law is an example, for purposes of illustration and not limitation, of the physical format of the boxed notice that fulfills the requirement of the new law.
Senate Bill 1050 is the latest change to the form and wording of the statutory certificates of acknowledgment, jurat and proof of execution prescribed under California law in recent years. In taking an acknowledgment that will be filed in the state of California, or any jurat or proof of execution, a Notary must use the exact form of the certificate as contained in statute for each of these acts. SB 1050 adds a prescribed consumer disclosure to each of these certificates.
The wording of the disclosure, which is identical for each of the three certificates, 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.” This disclosure must appear in a box at the top of the certificate. The purpose of this new law is to cut down on fraud. According to the author in the bill analysis presented to the California Legislature, “When people are unfamiliar with the meaning and effect of a notary’s seal and signature, there is an opportunity for criminals to pass deceptive legal documents claiming a false right to money, authority, or real property by inferring, suggesting, or stating that the notary’s seal and signature constitute an official endorsement of authenticity. SB 1050 seeks to reduce fraud by including a clear consumer notification statement as to the limited effect of a notary’s seal and signature. People unfamiliar with notary seals who are studying a fraudulent document presented to them will not give undue consideration to a notary seal as an official endorsement of authenticity and legal correctness.”
Technically, the facts attested by a Notary in an acknowledgment, jurat or proof of execution are stated in the certificate a Notary signs and seals. Reading the certificates would prove that a Notary does not certify to the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document, raising a question of why this new law was needed. However, given how we have become accustomed to seeing such disclosures appearing in contracts, insurance policies, mortgage loans and other legal documents, the author of this bill and the California Secretary of State’s office believes a plain language notice that the public can understand will help dispel any doubt about what a California Notary can do.