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New Notary Language Requirements for Public Documents

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As of January 1, 2015, in California, the notary certificate wording for acknowledgments, jurats and proofs of execution changed pursuant to Civil Code Sections 1189 and 1195 and Government Code Section 8202. Those sections require that the notary certificates bear a consumer notification. In an effort to reduce fraud, the notary certificates in California must contain the following notice in a box at the top of each certificate:

"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 the document."

Failure to use this new wording could lead to fines and civil liability for violating state law. Additionally, county recorders may, and should, reject notarized documents that do not bear the new notification.

In the construction world, entities utilize notarized Certificates of Acknowledgement in various ways, including, amongst others, Mechanics Lien Releases, Stop Payment Notice Releases, and Notices of Cessation. All entities should take care to ensure that the Certificates of Acknowledgement employed by the Notary Public contains the consumer protection notice as prescribed in the statutes.

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