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Notary Bulletin

California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Notaries To Report Suspected Financial Abuse Of Seniors

NotaryBulletinIcon612.jpgCalifornia Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has vetoed a bill that would have required the state’s Notaries Public to report instances of suspected financial abuse of elders and dependent adults.

In a statement issued with the veto of AB 477, Brown said Notaries generally have only “fleeting” contact with potential victims. “Others who are expressly mandated by law to report abuse typically have some level of relationship or more regular contact with the elder or dependent adult, or have some level of training in identifying abuse,” he said.

Keep watching the Notary Bulletin for updates. Governor Brown’s complete statement follows:

Assembly Bill 477 would add notaries public to the list of professionals mandated to report suspected financial abuse of elder and dependent adults.

I am not convinced that notaries, with their very limited interactions, should be placed in the position of being a mandated reporter. Others who are expressly mandated by law to report abuse typically have some level of relationship or more regular contact with the elder or dependent adult, or have some level of training in identifying abuse. For mandated reporting of financial abuse, officers and employees of financial institutions are required to report because of their access to financial information.

Notaries generally have no more than fleeting contact with individuals who request their services. If some transaction or situation should arise that gives them pause or appears suspect, notaries may already make a report without this law.

I believe that voluntary education and outreach efforts to notaries about financial abuse would better suit this class of professionals.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

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