Monday, March 30, 2015


Effective January 1, 2015, each Notary Acknowledgement and Jurat (where a person is required "to be duly sworn to tell the truth") must now contain the following statement: 

A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individuals(s) who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.

This language must be inserted in a box immediately preceding the caption which contains the State of California and the county in which the notary is performing the service.

The California Legislature calls this language a "consumer disclosure" and stated that the purpose is to reduce fraud.

The law was passed in August, 2014, and I was taken by surprise.  Usually, there are many services and various continuing education classes which bring these types of changes to the attention of practitioners.

I learned the hard way.  Clients delayed signing papers until January 5, 2015, and my standard Notary Acknowledgement from 2014 did not contain the new box.  Back came the documents from the Recorder's Office.  Clients had to sign again because there was no room to insert the box language before the Notary Acknowledgement - and the disclosure purpose to the consumer would not be accomplished.

If you are preparing or signing documents which require a Notary Acknowledgement or Jurat here in California, check to be sure the new box is in place.  Apparently there were people who relied on the Notary to tell them whether what they were signing was true or correct.  The only purpose for the Acknowledgement is to verify the identity of someone.  The Jurat is more formal and requires the Notary to "swear in" the signer by asking the individual to raise his or her right hand, and "swear that the statement he or she makes therein is the truth."  Contact an attorney if there is a question about the accuracy, truth or validity of a document.