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Notary Bulletin

Do I need to get a signer thumbprint for a real property document?

I will be notarizing a California Marital Settlement Agreement. Although it's not an actual deed, the document includes the disposition of real property after the marriage is terminated. Would this agreement be construed as “affecting real property,” which means I would be required to obtain a thumbprint from each signer in my journal?J. L., California

Yours is a great question and the answer is yes. The word deed, mortgage, or deed of trust is not required in the title of the document to require the Notary to obtain a journal thumbprint for each signer. Since the Marital Settlement Agreement provides for disposition of the real property upon dissolution of the marriage, it affects real property and thus is a document for which journal thumbprints of both parties are required under Government Code 8206(a)(2)(G).

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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