Current 2011 / 2012 California e-notary rules
California requires the signer to appear before the notary public for all notary acts — electronic or not. Documents that can be electronically notarized in California include: substitution of trustee, assignments of a deed of trust, and reconveyance deeds. These must be submitted to the county clerk via a trusted submitter. An electronic seal may be used for these transactions online. California Civil code 1633.11 states that an electronic signature carries the same legal effect as a physical signature made by a pen.
Purely online notarization services are not legal in California. You may not notarize someone using a web-cam, etc. That doesn’t constitute personal appearance. The signer must be within several feet of the notary and clearly visable to the notary.
§ 1633.11. Notarization and signature under penalty of perjury requirements
(a) If a law requires that a signature be notarized, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature to be notarized, the electronic signature of a notary public together with all other information required to be included in a notarization by other applicable law.
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To see current 2011 & 2012 California Acknowledgment wording information and California Jurat verbiage information, just visit:
California Acknowledgments & California Jurats
Notary laws are often based on antiquated social customs and laws. Many notary laws in Louisiana are based on the old Spanish and French laws which make it extremely different from the rest of the United States. Louisiana is sort of a foreign country controlled by our government. The language is English, but the laws are not. California notary law used to have some old rules too for identifying a signer.
In olden times, people lived in smaller communities, traveled less, and had less access to the outside world. In those days you knew your neighbors and knew them well. California notary laws and laws in many states allowed a notary to use personal knowledge of an individual as a way to identify them for a notarization. But, in 2011 with people flying all around, and nobody really knowing anyone, you can not really use personal knowledge as an identifying technique anymore. People don’t even know their wives and children that well these days! After 9/11, the laws changed in many states. It took a few years for the state governments to react, but standards for identification were raised. You can still identify signers using credible witnesses which I feel is false identification. The credible witnesses don’t really usually know the signer that well, and have to be reminded of the signer’s name in many cases. The most common form of identification is a driver’s license, state ID card, or password.
In any case, California notary laws for identifying a signer for an acknowledged signature are tougher now that personal knowledge is not allowed. But, signers also need to be identified for Jurats which never used to be the case. In the last few years, the California notary wording or California notary Verbiage for Acknowledgment and Jurat forms has changed a little bit as well.
Oaths and Affirmations in California have now become a merged act. You just choose whether you want it to be an affirmation or oath in the paperwork.
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California Notary Law Changes
Notary law has changed tremendously in the last few years across the nation, but the single most important event that shaped notary law was 9/11. It took several years for the various state notary divisions to react and change their notary laws after this catastrophe, but they surely did. Several of the terrorists were easily able to get fraudulent social security cards and drivers licenses. The hijackers paid $100 to an illegal immigrant who had also fraudulently gotten his Virginia driver’s license — to execute the residency affidavit for the 9/11 hijackers before a Virginia notary public. This notarized document from Virginia was sufficient proof to get a Virginia driver’s license which they needed to get on the airplanes. The Virginia notary public involved in this transaction was prosecuted by homeland security.
After that incident, it was found that tens of thousands of fake Virginia identification cards and driver’s licenses were circulating, and Virginia made law changes as a reaction. Notarized documents were no longer sufficient proof to get a driver’s license. Virginia was not the only state to react to this catastrophe. The California notary division, and many others reacted too. Law changes started happeneing slowly, generally in 2005 and 2006.
Some of the main changes to California notary law were that personal knowledge of a signer was no longer grounds for personal knowledge. California notaries also are responsible to make sure the document being notarized is not fraudulent. Jurats now require being positively identified in California and almost every other state in the nation. There are other laws that changed, but now governments are being careful about identification and preventing fraud.
In my personal opinion, California should never had had liberal identification standards to begin with. The governments reaction to 9/11 is like frantically putting on your seat belt right after an accident. The time to wear your seat belt is BEFORE an accident, which means all the time. Additionally, the credible witness procedure in California and many other states is just as ludicrous as the personal knowledge form of identification. If you personally know someone, how well does it mean that you know them? There has never been a definitive standard other than that you knew them from a chain of events and people in various contexts which has several lines of text in legalese which nobody can make much sense of. Credible witnesses do not usually know a signer well enough to identify them before a public official. They know a signer as “Joe” their neighbor, and job could tell them his last name was Wagner, and the CW’s would swear to that before the notary when they don’t even know. California is still careless with its notary laws in many ways.
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