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Three Landmark Notary Law Trends In 2014

Law trends

2014 was an active year for new Notary laws, with 28 states updating their notarial statutes. Here’s a look at three significant legislative trends that impacted Notaries during the past twelve months:                  

Notaries Allowed To Charge Higher Fees:
 

Several states raised the maximum statutory fees Notaries may charge for their services. South Carolina raised maximum acknowledgment and jurat fees to $5 — a significant increase over the previous maximum fee of $1 for notarizations — and authorized Notaries to charge a travel fee agreed upon by the Notary and the signer in advance.  Tennessee removed its fixed Notary fee schedule, allowing Notaries in the state discretion to set their own fees. Other states that raised fees that can be charged for notarial acts include Minnesota, West Virginia and Wyoming.

California Certificate Wording Change:
 

A new law effective as of January 1, 2015 added a new mandatory consumer notice to California’s acknowledgment, jurat and proof of execution certificates. The notice states that a Notary only verifies the identity of the individual signer and does not verify the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document. The NNA has provided a FAQ to help answer the many questions asked by Notaries in California and other states about the effects of this change.

‘Notario’ And Immigration Service Restrictions:
 

Immigration law issues drew a lot of attention in 2014, including warnings from state and federal officials about increasing fraudulent immigration service scams using the title ‘Notario’ in the wake of President Obama’s announcement that executive orders related to immigration are imminent. Because scammers often advertise fraudulent immigration or legal services using foreign-language translations of the title “Notary Public”, a number of states enacted new laws that address ‘Notario’ abuse, limiting how Notaries may advertise their services in foreign languages and imposing new restrictions on immigration service providers — many of whom also are Notaries.

 

Additional information on 2014 and earlier Notary laws is available through the NNA’s searchable Law Updates database.

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

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