UT Senate Bill 114 | NNA
Law

UT Senate Bill 114

Notary Law Update: UT Senate Bill 114

State: Utah

Summary:

Senate Bill 114 provides exceptions to the statute prohibiting a Notary from notarizing when the Notary is a signer or named in the document: (1) in the case of a self-proving will, or (2) in the case of a licensed attorney who is representing a signer or another person named in a document.

Signed:  March 14, 2008

Effective:  July 01, 2008

Chapter: 102

Affects:

Amends Sections 46-1-7 of the Utah Code Annotated

Changes:
  1. Prohibits a Notary from notarizing a document in which the Notary is the signer except in the case in which the Notary is the signer of a self-proved will.
  2. Prohibits a Notary from notarizing a document in which the Notary is named except in the case of (1) a self-proved will or (2) a licensed attorney who is listed in the document as representing the signer or another person named in the document.
Analysis:

Simply put, Senate Bill 114 is a very bad bill. The intent of this bill may have been to allow Notaries to notarize the signatures of witnesses to a self-proved will when the Notary is the actual maker (testator) of the will or one of the witnesses. However, the effect of the bill, intended or not, is to allow a Notary to notarize his or her own signature on a self-proved will and to allow a clearly self-interested beneficiary of a will to notarize the signatures of the maker and any witnesses.

A self-proved will is a will that is acknowledged by the testator and contains affidavits of the witnesses. By notarizing the signatures of the testator and witnesses, the will can be probated faster because it eliminates the need for the witnesses to appear in court at the time the will is filed with the court.

Senate Bill 114 also allows an attorney who is a Notary to notarize a document in which the attorney is named as representing the signer or any person named in the document.

These exceptions to the rule prohibiting a Notary from notarizing when the Notary has a disqualifying interest undermine the foundation of the Notary Public office. The very reason to have a document notarized in the first place is to have an unbiased and impartial third party witness certify to the execution of the document. When the Notary himself or herself stands to gain personally from a document — as the beneficiary of a will, for example — the notarial act cannot achieve its intended effect.

Read the bill text.

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