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New Mandatory California Notary Certificate Wording Takes Effect January 1

A change to California’s mandatory Notary certificate wording for acknowledgments, jurats and proofs of execution takes effect January 1, 2015, and Notaries in the Golden State who do not use the new wording will be out of compliance with state law.

Under Chapter 197, Statutes of 2014, the following consumer notification must be included as part of the notarial certificates:

“A Notary Public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.”

This notification must appear in a box at the top of the certificate, and it must be legible.

The notification seeks to reduce fraud by letting consumers know that the Notary’s seal and signature do not authenticate or endorse the contents of a document. The legislation’s sponsors wanted to make sure that people unfamiliar with a Notary’s duties would not be more inclined to trust a fraudulent document simply because it was notarized.

The NNA's New Law Updates database has an online summary and analysis of SB 1050.

 

Notaries And Document Preparers
 

California Notaries need to keep in mind that they will almost certainly come across documents that do not comply with the new wording requirements.

“We know from past experience that it takes a while for changes to California’s mandatory certificate wording to filter through to all the agencies, industries and business operations that prepare documents,” said Bill Anderson, the NNA’s Vice President of Legal Affairs.

Anderson said that Notaries encountering documents without the consumer notification will most likely need to attach a loose certificate because there won’t be enough room to insert the new wording so that it is legible and in a box.

Anderson also noted that county recorders will likely reject notarized documents that do not include the new certificate wording. If you continue to use old certificate wording after January 1, the California Secretary of State could fine you for violating state law, and you also could face civil liability.

Updated California Notary Certificates
 

To help our California Notary community, the NNA has updated the following Notary certificate forms we offer to be 2015 compliant:

  • California All-Purpose Acknowledgment
  • California Jurat with Affiant Statement
  • California Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness

These updated certificates comply with current law as well, so Notaries can purchase and use them right away.

NNA Member Benefit
 

We also have updated the certificate form available to NNA members online for free as a membership benefit. These 2015-compliant certificates are always available, so members can download and print them on demand.

To access them, login to your member profile at NationalNotary.org, click the “Notary Certificate Forms” under the Quick Links menu on the right. Then select “California” from the drop-down menu and download your forms.

Details and an analysis of the new certificate law are also available in the NNA’s Law Updates database. We also will continue to keep you informed on all matters that affect your Notary commission.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

79 Comments

Add your comment

Walter Hertz

10 Nov 2014

What does a Notary from another state do when they are faced with this document? I am in NJ. However, I am not allowed to change the Notarial wording to match my state, thus I would not be able to use this wording in NJ on a CA document being notarized here? Companies will insist that I use this wording. How can I get around that? Thanks

National Notary Association

13 Nov 2014

Hello Walter, You would need to use certificate wording acceptable under New Jersey laws for any notarization you performed in the state, regardless of the request made by a private company. For more on this topic, please see today's article: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/11/out-of-state-document-notarization

patricia.gonzalez@scccd.edu

10 Nov 2014

I am a NNA member and am trying to download the Notary Certificate forms but am having no luck in accessing them.

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2014

Hi Patricia. We're sorry you're having issues. Please try the following steps: 1. Log in to Nationalnotary.org 2. At the My NNA page, click on “Notary Certificate Forms” in the Member Links box at right 3. At the Certificate Forms page, select your state, then click on the desired certificate title 4. When the certificate launches, print the page for a hard copy, or save the PDF to your computer If you still have any issues accessing the certificates, please contact us at social@nationalnotary.org.

Monica Patanian

10 Nov 2014

I am in the process of renewing my commission. I purchased the NNA package which includes a set of jurat and acknowledgment certificates. Do I have to discard them? Can I print the new language at the top so I can use them?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2014

Hi Monica. As of January 1, 2015 you will need to switch to the new certificate format in California. For more information on where the new CA certificate language is available, please see the following article: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/11/where-to-get-the-new-california-notary-certificates

Some dude

10 Nov 2014

Faye

10 Nov 2014

If you are a notary in Nevada performing notary work on a California document is this wording necessary?

National Notary Association

13 Nov 2014

Hello Faye. Please see today's article on handling notarization requests for out-of-state documents: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/11/out-of-state-document-notarization

Linda H. Howard

10 Nov 2014

I just renewed my commission which expired Nov. 6, 2014. Received my supplies and NOW I see that the notarial certificates I received are already out of date. Any chance you can send me replacements without charge?

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hello Linda. If you're a current NNA member, the new certificate wording is available for download and printing via your member profile as described in the article.

Olivia G. Walker-Cochran

10 Nov 2014

I have quite a number of these pages in the pads that I purchased. What should I do with them. Sounds like a waste if I might add.

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hello Linda. As of January 1, you will need to use the new CA wording. If you're an NNA member you can download and print the new certificate wording through your member profile by following the instructions in the article.

Faye

10 Nov 2014

If you are a notary in Nevada performing notary work on a California document is this wording necessary?

Bill Anderson (NNA)

11 Nov 2014

Thanks for your question. No, if you are a Nevada Notary, using a California Notary certificate is not required. However, you will probably see documents containing the boxed statement occasionally, especially if you are asked to notarize a document for a Californian who happens to be in Nevada at the time.

Euan Fernsler

10 Nov 2014

What is the code section for the new law? That would be most helpful so I can read it directly. Thanks!!

Bill Anderson (NNA)

11 Nov 2014

To read the new law and the code sections affected by it, on the NNA website click on Knowledge Center > News &Information > Law Updates. In the search box type "California" and click the search button. In search results SB 1050 will be the first result. Click on it and you'll be able to read our analysis. Click the link at the bottom to read the text of the new law.

Sarah Jang

10 Nov 2014

Thought you should know that there is a TYPO in your article "New Mandatory California Notary Certificate Wording Takes Effect January 1"! Under Certificate Availability, the word COMPLAINT is shown...I think the word should be COMPLIANT?

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hi Sarah. Thanks for pointing out the typo. We've edited it.

Megan

10 Nov 2014

Thank you

Julie Brouillette

10 Nov 2014

I never make comments but feel I must regarding the new mandatory language. How can this new law apply to jurats when we must administer an oath that the ". . . statements in this document are true . . . ."? The new mandatory language is directly in opposition to the current language for jurats. How, then, is this to be handled? The current jurat states that the statements are true; the upcoming mandatory language states that we verify only the identify of the person and not the truthfulness of the document. Am I not understanding something here? The people making these laws have no idea what is going on and are obviously not notaries. The laws are making it increasingly more difficult for anyone to become a notary -- let alone want to be a notary at all. I would love to not be a notary any longer, but I need to be a notary for my job.

Bill Anderson (NNA)

11 Nov 2014

Thanks for making a comment this time! The audience for the boxed statement in the new law is for consumers, not Notaries. In other words, it is there to inform signers of the true role of the Notary and doesn't in any way affect what Notaries do. Technically, the Notary never verifies the truthfulness of any document. We witness the signing of the document, or take the acknowledgment of the signer, and verify the signer's identity.

David Sandri

10 Nov 2014

If we order the new forms, can we start using them right away, or do we wait until January 1st to use the new ones?

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hello David. You may go ahead and use the new forms.

Pam Tunnicliffe

10 Nov 2014

This is why being a member of NNA pays for itself time and time again. Receiving this vital update is priceless! Thank you NNA

Gail Forrest

10 Nov 2014

Does this mean if we purchase from you new Acknowledgments or Jurats, we can start using them as of today? Thank you.

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hi Gail. Yes, you may use the new notarial certificate wording prior to January.

Cindy

11 Nov 2014

I tried to access the updated certificate for California by going to nationalnotary.org and didn't find Notary Certificate Forms in the Quick Links...can you help?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2014

HI Cindy. We're sorry you're having issues. Please try the following steps: 1. Log in to Nationalnotary.org 2. At the My NNA page, click on “Notary Certificate Forms” in the Member Links box at right 3. At the Certificate Forms page, select your state, then click on the desired certificate title 4. When the certificate launches, print the page for a hard copy, or save the PDF to your computer If you still have any issues accessing the certificates, please contact us at social@nationalnotary.org.

patt wexler

11 Nov 2014

The Senate Bill 1050 states that the new consumer disclosure is to be "in a box at the top of each certificate. The new free downloads you offer for printing the certificates shows the disclosure box in the body of the certificate, not at the top. Why?

Bill Anderson (NNA)

11 Nov 2014

Thanks for your question. By "top of the certificate" we mean before the venue (State of California, County of ____), which in the new law is where the boxed statement is placed.

Kristine Chatari

11 Nov 2014

Could you please confirm for us California notaries whether it would be prudent to begin using the new certificate language NOW; or wait until Jan. 1, 2015. Thank you.

National Notary Association

12 Nov 2014

Hello Kristine. As mentioned in the article, you may begin using the new certificate language now.

Dona McBride

12 Nov 2014

Is there any plan to create a stamp with this new consumer notice. There is plenty of open space on the certificates that I have to stamp it on.

Noreen

13 Nov 2014

Is there a requirement for using a particular size font? We generally add the acknowledgment wording to estate planning documents (we do not use the pre-printed certificates) and I have added the new wording (in a box) above the venue. Do you see any problems with this from the NNA point of view. I know each county has different requirements. Thank you.

Jack J miller

13 Nov 2014

NNA you are always so on top of every situation! You anticipated members having recently purchasing the now outdated certificates and compensated by giving FREE certificate downloads! Thank you for ALWAYS being on top of situations!

Alisha Pearce

14 Nov 2014

My comment is for Julie Brouillette, based on hers left November 10th, as I do not believe the NNA fully clarified her confusion with the new wording. The new wording states that the NOTARY does not verify truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document, which is always a true statement; notaries are not authorized to do so. When taking an oath for a jurat, the SIGNER swear that the contents of the document are true and correct to the best of their knowledge. Therefore, the new wording does not conflict with the taking of a jurat and the current practice for this notarial act remains the same.

hollywoodnotary@gmail.com

27 Nov 2014

Who sponsored this legislation to add this consumer warning? This is state-sanctioned, mandatory legal advise, isn't it? Basically this statement says that Notaries only verify identity, but ignores the fact that we give oaths, that swearing or affirming before us is the same as swearing and affirming to the State of California, and the fact that if someone does lie to us about signing in their authorized capacity that there can be legal ramifications. This statement really says "the Notary verified the identification of this person, but he/she may be lying to you". Who wants to see that on or attached to their legal documents? I understand wanting to warn consumers, but this law seems to go too far. I already have a couple of clients who are alarmed by this change. Sometimes it is possible to go overboard with legislation, and in my opinion they have gone way overboard with this!

Eileen White

01 Dec 2014

We notarize hundreds of legal "Release of Utility Lien" documents on the actual document itself. To comply with the law, we will be adding the certificate language before the venue. However, because we notarize on the actual legal document, do we use the same language provided or is there other language used for documents that are actually notarized on the actual document without the certificate attached? (The language reads "to which this certificate is attached...") Thank you.

Julie Brouillette

01 Dec 2014

Hello, Bill Anderson (NNA) Thank you for your response to my comment. Another comment, if I may: The "boxed statement in the new law is for consumers, not Notaries . . . it is there to inform signers of the true role of the Notary and doesn't in any way affect what Notaries do." I am certain that the consumer rarely sees/reads the notarial acknowledgment or jurat. I can tell you then when I notarize, people just sign the document(s), and I complete the notary form--they never see or look at the acknowledgment or jurat. Once again, this new law does not make any sense. Haven't notaries been doing this all along? Thank you.

gokimura@soboroff.com

01 Dec 2014

followed the steps to download the free forms but it DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. PLEASE HELP. Beyond annoyed right now.

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2014

Hello, We're sorry you're having difficulty. Please email us at social@nationalnotary.org and describe the issue you're having and we'll be happy to try and resolve it for you.

Linda Ouille

01 Dec 2014

I am a Texas notary. We have lots of folks purchasing property in California. CA. requires thumb prints in Journal and now New notarial wording on certificates. We are not required to thumbprint in Texas but should if CA. Florida requires 2 witnesses for county clerk to accept. We (TX) require no witnesses. Docs are rejected if we do not comply with out of State REQ's. it will be interesting to see if we use TX certificates for CA signers signing here in TX if they are accepted or rejected by CA County Clerks. Fla. rejects if no witnesses. Linda

Jadene Payton

01 Dec 2014

So my Jurat stamp is now out dated. Will there be a new Jurat stamp available for Ca notaries with the new verbiage. Seems like it would need to be a BIG stamp!!

National Notary Association

03 Dec 2014

Hello Jadene, Yes, we will be updating our CA Jurat stamp to include the new required wording.

Jovanna

03 Dec 2014

Is there a requirement for using a particular font size? Our standard font that we use is 12 but can it be a smaller font? We usually add the acknowledgment wording to estate planning documents and we have added the new wording (in a box) above the venue.

National Notary Association

03 Dec 2014

Hi Jovana. Section 1189 (a) (1) of the Civil Code states that the notice must be legible, but does not specify a particular font size.

Linda Williams

04 Dec 2014

Hello, I'm a California Notary and would like to know if the three certificates (California All-Purpose Acknowledgment, California Jurat with Affiant Statement, California Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness) mentioned in all of the informational communications regarding the Law Update are the only certificates that are being changed? If there are more, please let us know. Thank you!

National Notary Association

05 Dec 2014

Hi Linda. Those are the three categories of certificate addressed in the new law. You can read the full text here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1050&search_keywords=

MOSES D. ALSTON

05 Dec 2014

Why can't the old forms be used until exhausted to save some trees?

E. Brett

30 Dec 2014

Thank you for participating in the Federal Paper Reduction Act.

Kris

31 Dec 2014

Can I simply purchase a stamp with the box and enclosed required text, and stamp it at the top of my document that I notarize?

Bonnie Borough

05 Jan 2015

I have a signing today to make up for a snafu on 12/31/14. Does this mean that if the new wording is not printed on the documents that I need to attach a loose certificate of acknowledgment on every document that is notarized by me? And they need to be attached, but the loan company wants no staples in their return package, what am I to do?

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2015

Hi Bonnie, California acknowledgment certificates used starting Jan 1, 2015 must include the new wording under CA state law. If the loan company has issues with stapling a loose certificate but the notarial certificates do not contain the required wording, you should contact the loan company for instructions and let them know the notarial certificate lacks the new mandatory wording and ask how they wish to proceed.

sangerardo58@hotmail.com

06 Jan 2015

i purchased the old jurat and acknowledgement format item nos. 5910 and 5907 (2013 format), respectively, from the nna. there's no space for the disclaimer starting 1/1/15 above the venue statement. can i stamp the disclaimer on the top right portion?

National Notary Association

06 Jan 2015

Hello, Please see our response on this topic here: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/12/answers-faq-ca-certificate-law

Kay S

12 Jan 2015

I notarized an attorney admission oath in the state of California a few days ago that will be submitted to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York). The new language was not on the form. Do I need to re-do the notarization since it was done in California? Can I hand write the new wording in?

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2015

Hello, If the notarization was a jurat performed after Jan 1, 2015, it would require the new wording. The original notarized document would need to be returned to you to complete a new notarization with the correct wording.

Erin

22 Jan 2015

What is considered to be legible font????

kamilla lucero

03 Feb 2015

I notarized a document for a client who lives in New York, the document is being filed in New York. I am notarizing it in California, do I still need to attach the loose cert with the new wording.

National Notary Association

03 Feb 2015

Hello Kamilla, If you're being asked to perform a jurat or proof of execution, you must always use the certificates with the new consumer notice regardless of where the document is sent. If you're being asked to perform an acknowledgment on a document that is filed in another state, you may complete any acknowledgment form as may be required in that other state or jurisdiction, provided the form does not require you to determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or to make other determinations or certifications not allowed by California law.

Mary

12 Feb 2015

Would CA All Purpose Certificate of Acknowledgment be necessary when Power of Attorney form is signed for submission to another state?

National Notary Association

12 Feb 2015

Hello, That's a question that would have to be answered by an attorney, as requirements for different power of attorney documents can vary.

Mary

13 Feb 2015

Would CA All Purpose Certificate of Acknowledgment be necessary when Power of Attorney form is signed for submission to another state?

National Notary Association

17 Feb 2015

Hello, Power of attorney document requirements can vary widely depending on the type of document and individual state requirements. This question would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Vanessa

28 May 2015

I am from Texas and work for a company that needs some docs notarized in California. Is it mandatory to use the California acknowledgment or can the notary not use it and just sign the doc?

National Notary Association

28 May 2015

Hi Vanessa. You would need to use certificate wording that complies with Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 121.007 and 121.008. You can see samples here: http://law.onecle.com/texas/civil/chapter121.html

Judy

05 Aug 2015

Hello, the California DMV just updated their 9050 form to include the new notary requirement, however, it does not appear in a box on the form. If the wording does not appear in a box, does it make the certification on the form invalid? Would we have to attach a separte notary certificate page to show the wording in the box?

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2015

Hello Judy. The California law does require the new wording to appear in a box. (Please see this article: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/11/california-notary-certificate-wording-january) If you've encounter a DMVdocument that does not meet the certificate wording requirements, you should contact the DMV for instructions on how to have the wording corrected.

linda gagnon

09 Mar 2016

are the copy certification by document custodian forms obsolete?

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2016

Hello. We no longer sell or provide copy certification by document custodian forms. Notaries may perform this act if a signer requests it and provides the appropriate statement, but it's not appropriate for Notaries to advise signers to use this option. For more information, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/10/important-facts-notaries-copy-certification

Ron Johnson

21 Apr 2016

what happens when an out of state notary seal is used in California and the seal has been altered with, is the document still valid

National Notary Association

21 Apr 2016

Hello Ron. We would need more information about the situation in order to answer your question-for example, was the document notarized by a Notary in another state, or a CA Notary? If you're an NNA member and need an answer quickly, you can contact our Hotline team at 888-876-0827 for assistance.

Grace

01 Aug 2016

The Notary at the UPS Store in Railroad Ave in Pittsburg, CA refused to put her seal on a US Department of State DS-3053 form for Passport renewal for a minor residing in PA because it did not have the new CA wording. She attached the CA form instead. The DS-3053 form (which is by the way a nationally-used form/universal form used by a federal agency) was sent to a Philadelphia passport agency in Sterling, VA which then refused to process the application because Notary did not seal/complete the DS-3053 Form. How do you reconcile the wording difference/inconsistencies vs nationally-used federal forms that require a notary seal/signature?

National Notary Association

02 Aug 2016

Hello. California law requires Notaries to use the new CA wording when notarizing documents. In situations where adding a loose certificate to a document may cause issues with the receiving agency, we recommend the signer contact the agency before the notarization is completed and ask what alternative solution they will accept.

Ellen

26 Aug 2016

Hello. My family is in the process of selling international inheritance property. My mother, who is a California resident, is handling the paperwork and working with the California Apostille. I am a NY resident and have signed and notarized a durable POA and a copy of my passport to allow my mother to handle the process. Does this new verbiage need to be included on the forms I got notarized in NY? Thanks in advance for your help!

National Notary Association

29 Aug 2016

Hello. California Notaries are required by their state law to use the new CA statutory notarial wording. If you have questions regarding specific paperwork or power of attorney requirements for your transaction, you should contact a qualified attorney for assistance.

gina marie parrott

03 May 2017

Can I hand print the new california wording just under my stamp or signature if that is the only space provided?

National Notary Associaton

04 May 2017

Hello. No, the formatting requirements imposed by the new law are that the consumer notice be enclosed in a box and placed at the top of the certificate before the venue.

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