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August 18, 2012

California Notary Issues

What more can we say about being a notary in California? Its reasonable policies make sense; in order to become a California notary, you are required to take a course, take an exam, and keep a journal. The fee for the California notary exam and the application is $20 for each, as described on the website of the California Secretary of State—despite the fact that elsewhere the California notary exam is listed as costing $40. Also, the term of appointment for a California notary is 4 years, which is cost-effective and sensible. The surety bond required is $15,000 for a 4-year bond, which is reasonable in such a big state.

It is also possible to make money as a notary in California: the notary’s fee for an acknowledgment in California is $10, for instance, and $20 for a deposition. In addition, the California notary can charge for travel as long as the fee is agreed upon ahead of time, whereas in Arizona, for example, the maximum charge for travel allowed by law is 44.5 cents a mile.

Finally, the California statutes and rules regarding notaries are clear, and all information is clearly updated on the website of the California Secretary of State. Regarding provisions for e-notarization, for example—a sticky wicket in some states—the languagemakes it absolutely clear what is intended and what is allowed. If a California statute means that in California, documents may be filed electronically but not notarized electronically, it clearly states “When a document is filed with the electronic recording delivery system, a notary seal or stamp requirement is met if the electronic signature of the notary contains the notary’s name, title, jurisdiction, the notary’s sequential identification number (if any), and seal vendor’s sequential identification number (if any).” California Govt. Code Ann. § 27391 (2010). The wording “filed with” makes it clear what a California notary can and cannot do over the web. The website of the California Secretary of State makes it clear: “Online notarization services are not legal in California.” Despite what some sites may claim, an acknowledgment in California cannot be taken by webcam.

So many clients, so many interesting people for the California notary to travel to and assist—in person!

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