Notary Bulletin

New Montana State Law Taking Effect October 1st Seeks To Protect The Public From Document Fraud

LOS ANGELES, CA - A new Montana state law taking effect October 1 implements a number of major changes to the state's Notary Public laws in an effort to help protect the public from the rampant document fraud currently sweeping the nation.

The National Notary Association, a non-profit professional association serving the nearly five million Notaries Public of the United States - and the voice of the American Notary since 1957 - is urging Notaries and their employers to become familiar with the law's provisions as soon as possible.

"If every state would be as proactive as Montana has been in enacting this new law, nationally, we could reverse the current skyrocketing upward trend in mortgage fraud," said Charles N. Faerber, National Notary Association Vice President of Notary Affairs. "The new Notary journal requirement will be particularly helpful in the deterrence and prosecution of forgers," he added.

Signed by Governor Schweitzer in April, Senate Bill 299 represents a comprehensive change that will have major impact on the 21,000 Notaries Public within the state - and for the businesses where many of them are employed.

In an effort to deter fraud involving notarized documents and assist in criminal investigations and prosecutions, among the provisions of the new law, Notaries will now be required to keep a record of their notarial acts in a bound journal.

The new law also requires Notaries commissioned or re-commissioned on or after October 1, 2009 use an inking stamp type seal. Use of an embossing crimper-type seal is no longer permitted with commissions issued on or after that date.

Beginning July 1, 2010, a training course is required for all first-time applicants for a Notary commission and for existing Notaries seeking reappointment against whom a complaint has been filed (or evidence of improperly notarized documents has been submitted to the Secretary of State). Additionally, the residency requirement for commission applicants is being shortened from one year to 30 days.

Mindful of a recent Appellate Court ruling in Illinois, the National Notary Association is urging employers in Montana to avoid possible liability by ensuring their Notaries are properly trained in the requirements of state laws as well as best practices. Ongoing, the NNA recommends that the actions of staff Notaries be closely monitored.

It is expected that courts in other states will cite the Illinois ruling in holding employers responsible for the actions of their Notaries on-staff.

In response to many questions that have arisen about the new Montana law and its impact on Notaries and their employers, the National Notary Association has developed a thorough training program and other useful, educational resources. With the support of state officials, the Association is working to ensure that the Montanas Notaries are in compliance with the provisions of the new law.

For further information, visit www.nationalnotary.org/mt/lawchanges or contact the National Notary Association at (800) 876-6827.

About the National Notary Association

Established in 1957, the National Notary Association (NNA) is the leading professional authority on the American Notary office and is dedicated to educating, serving and advocating for the nation's 4.8 million Notaries. The NNA imparts comprehensive notarial knowledge and understanding, promotes a positive public perception of the Notary professional, and bolsters consumer protection by promoting best practices. The Association's accredited professional programs, services, model legislation and groundbreaking eNotarization technology initiatives help Notaries advance their careers and serve the American public with the highest level of professionalism and ethics. To learn more, visit www.nationalnotary.org

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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