Demand Debts or Protest Non-Payment
Another duty of a notary in California is to “demand payments of bills of exchange and to protest them in the event of non-payment”. This duty is really a carry-over from duties of a notary during the 19th century. Briefly, a Bill of Exchange is a document drawn between parties which one of the parties uses as evidence of money owed. It was a convenient and popular substitute for carrying cash usually from one county to another. If the party to whom the Bill of Exchange is presented decides not to honor the payment, it was a notary’s duty to formally “demand payment” or “certify the protest” as to why the payment would not be made. It is rather unlikely that a notary today would be requested to provide such a service and if presented with such a request, the notary should not proceed unless under the direction of an attorney.