UT Department of Insurance Interpretation | NNA
Law

UT Department of Insurance Interpretation

Notary Law Update: UT Department of Insurance Interpretation

State: Utah

Summary:

A March 28, 2006, letter from the Market Conduct Division Director of the Utah Department of Insurance to Fran Fish, Utah’s Notary Administrator, explains that the state’s previous restrictive policies have been reviewed and revised in a manner favorable to Notary Signing Agents.

Signed:  March 28, 2006

Effective:  March 28, 2006

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Notary Signing Agents in Utah

Changes:
  1. Explains that the Utah Title and Escrow Commission of the State of Utah Department of Insurance reviewed the practice of notarization of title escrow settlement documents and concluded that notarization of these documents are not included in the scope of the title escrow producer license.
  2. Effective immediately, allows Notaries who are merely notarizing signatures on title escrow settlement documents to perform notarial services without having to obtain a title escrow producer license.
  3. Clarifies that notarizing a title escrow settlement document may not include explaining the content or purpose of a document or handling any escrow settlement monies or any other duties performed by a title escrow producer. (Note: Couriering documents to and from a signing would constitute the duties of a title escrow producer and are still prohibited.)
  4. Advises that if a Notary is asked to perform any services other than notarizing the signature on a title escrow settlement document, a title escrow producer license may be required.
Analysis:

During the past few years, the NNA has received reports of several states limiting or prohibiting Notaries from performing the duties of a Notary Signing Agent in connection with mortgage finance loan transactions, or requiring Notaries who wish to perform these functions to obtain a title insurance or escrow agent license. In discussions with state agency officials, the position of the NNA that Notary Signing Agents perform purely ministerial functions in connection with these transactions typically fell on deaf ears. Utah had been one of these states.

However, a March 28, 2006, letter from the Market Conduct Division Director of the Utah Department of Insurance to Fran Fish, Utah’s Notary Administrator, explains that the state’s previous restrictive policies have been reviewed and revised in a manner favorable to Notary Signing Agents.

Utah Notary Signing Agents and all other Utah Notaries may now perform their official witnessing duties on these documents without obtaining a title escrow producer license. Title escrow settlement documents include conveyance deeds, security instruments (mortgages and deeds of trust) and riders, various affidavits, lender disclosures, and settlement statements.

The letter advises that Notaries handling title escrow settlement documents may not explain the content or purpose of a document being signed, handle settlement funds, or fulfill any other function of a title escrow producer. In a follow up conversation with Director Darrel Powell, the letter’s author, Mr. Powell indicated that Notaries who handle loan signings cannot courier the documents to and from the signing or handle checks for settlement funds, as these actions would be acts requiring a title escrow producer license. Therefore, when accepting the assignment, a Utah NSA must inform the contracting company that it will have to make arrangements to deliver the documents to and from the borrower.

Notwithstanding this limitation of the Notary Signing Agent’s duties, Utah Notaries may contract to witness the signatures on all title escrow documents and notarize applicable forms.

To read the Department of Insurance's March 28, 2006 letter, download the PDF below.

Download PDF

Knowledge Center