UT House Bill 320 | NNA
Law

UT House Bill 320

Notary Law Update: UT House Bill 320

State: Utah

Summary:

House Bill 320 makes numerous changes to Utah’s Notary laws, including allowing Notaries to perform signature witnessings, specifying notarial certificate forms, and making changes related to Notary commissions.

Signed:  March 22, 2017

Effective:  May 08, 2017

Chapter: TBD

Affects:

Amends Sections 46-1-2, 46-1-3, 46-1-4, 46-1-7, 46-15, 46-1-16, 46-1-18, 46-1-20, 46-1-205, enacts Section 46-1-6.5, repeals and reenacts Section 46-1-6 and repeals Section 46-1-5 of the Utah Code Annotated

Changes:

Notary Commission

  1. Requires an applicant to be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status in the U.S.
  2. Requires an applicant to affirm on the application for a commission that the applicant meets the requirements for a commission.
  3. Removes the requirement to obtain two endorsements for a Notary application.
  4. Requires a Notary to maintain permanent residence in Utah during the term of the Notary’s commission and to resign if the Notary does not maintain permanent residency in Utah.
  5. Clarifies that a Notary commission is not effective until the applicant’s oath and bond are approved by the lieutenant governor.
  6. Clarifies that a Notary seeking a new commission must submit a new application showing compliance with commissioning requirements.
  7. Clarifies that a Notary commission is not effective until the oath and bond are approved by the Lieutenant Governor.
  8. Repeals the $5 fee for a Notary reporting a change of address or name to the Lieutenant Governor.
  9. Clarifies that a Notary must provide the Notary’s new business or residential address to the Lieutenant Governor within 30 days of the change.
  10. Clarifies that after a Notary’s commission expires, he or she may not perform notarial acts until obtaining a new commission.
  11. Removes the prior provision that the bond of a Notary employed by a state office or agency may be executed by the Office of Risk Management.
  12. Clarifies a Notary must destroy the Notary’s seal upon resignation, revocation or expiration of a Notary commission.

Notarial Acts

  1. Defines “signature witnessing” and authorizes Notaries to perform a signature witnessing.
  2. Prohibits a Notary from performing a notarial act that is not an acknowledgment, jurat, copy certification, oath or affirmation or signature witnessing.
  3. Prohibits a Notary from performing a notarial act if the person for whom the act is performed is not in the physical presence of the Notary at the time of notarization.
  4. Prescribes the wording for an oath or affirmation.

Notary Certificates

  1. Defines “notarial certificate” as the affidavit described in Section 46-1-6.5 that is a part of or attached to a notarized document, and completed by the Notary and bears the Notary’s signature and seal.
  2. Clarifies that a correctly completed statutory affidavit in substantially the form provided in the new law that is included or attached to a document is sufficient for the completion of a notarization.
  3. Prescribes the statutory affidavit (certificate) forms for a jurat, acknowledgment, copy certification, and signature witnessing.
  4. Clarifies that a notarial certificate (previously “acknowledgment”) on an annexation, subdivision, or other map or plat is complete without the imprint of a Notary seal under certain conditions, as specified.
  5. Clarifies that a notarial certificate (previously “acknowledgment”) on an electronic message or document is considered complete without the imprint of a Notary seal under certain conditions, as prescribed.

Prohibited Acts and Penalties

  1. Prohibits a Notary from notarizing a document if the Notary is named in the document except if the Notary is a licensed escrow agent as defined in UCA 31A-1-301 who acts as the title insurance producer in signing closing documents and is not named individually in the closing documents as a grantor, grantee, mortgagor, mortgagee, trustor, trustee, vendor, vendee, lessor, lessee, buyer or seller.
  2. Clarifies that a Notary may not notarize if the Notary will receive direct compensation from the transaction connected with a financial transaction in which the Notary is named individually as a principal.
  3. Clarifies that a Notary may not notarize if the Notary will receive direct compensation from a real property transaction in which the Notary is named individually as grantor, grantee, mortgagor, mortgagee, trustor, trustee, beneficiary, vendor, vendee, lessor, lessee, buyer or seller.
  4. Prohibits a Notary from using a Notary seal independent of a notarial certificate.
  5. Clarifies that it is a class B misdemeanor for a Notary to violate a provision of Chapter 46.
  6. Clarifies that it is a class B misdemeanor for an employer of a Notary to solicit the Notary to violate a provision of Chapter 46.

Miscellaneous

  1. No longer requires a Notary to safeguard all other notarial records as valuable public documents, and no longer prohibits the Notary from destroying the documents.
  2. Makes numerous conforming changes.
Analysis:

House Bill 320 is a substantial update to Utah’s Notary laws. Many of the changes clarify commissioning and commission-related matters. Now, for example, the statute clarifies an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. The new law repeals the prior requirement for Notary applicants to obtain the endorsements of two adults on their commission application. The new law authorizes Utah Notaries to perform the new act of witnessing a signature, and defines a signature witnessing. Notably, the new law also includes statutory Notary certificate forms (called “affidavits”) for all of the notarial acts a Utah Notary may perform. There are new prohibits acts and penalties as well, and the entire bill rewrites much of the existing statute using more direct and accessible language.

Read the bill text.

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