NEW 2015 CA NOTARY DISCLAIMER LAW AFFECTS DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED TO SOS

CA ack clarification boxThe California Legislature passed a new law that adds a mandatory disclaimer to all notarizations executed after January 1, 2015. The new disclaimer text box (left) must be displayed at the top of all notarizations executed in California. Any notarizations that take place in California without this disclaimer can be rejected as an invalid notarization, especially when presented to the CA Secretary of State for an apostille as they are scrutinizing your documents for exactly this type of detail.

Legislators probably added more problems than they solved with this mandatory text addition. This has made it more difficult to be able to notarize/stamp the document on the same page as the signature, which is often requested by the receiving authority, as there is often not enough room for an additional box of text directly above wherever you have room to squeeze in your notary wording and stamps on a document. Also, organizations that do not stay up-to-date on the very latest changes by the legislators often have printed the notary wording on the document already right under the signature section and then a notary cannot notarize it, since there is no room to add the mandatory disclaimer box above it. Also, the document may be a PDF, where you can’t add anything to it at all. Then the entire notarization has to be tabled until the document can be fixed, or you have to cross out their notarization and add a current notary attachment, which makes the document look rather unprofessional. This also requires another stamp to be added to the notary bag that is already bursting with all the various stamps and forms for when it can fit above the notary section on the signature page.

There are always things you can do to make slightly vague concepts more clear–such as what a notarization actually does. But there are repercussions from making such clarifications the law and we don’t think this was the solution. We tend to doubt they consulted with any current notaries to see how it would effect the every-day notarization process. If this disclaimer was really necessary, a better solution would have been to attach a separate page with this disclaimer information behind the actual notarization page or at the end of the document, so it would not interfere with the notarization section and layout.