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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