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Foreign Language Documents
A notary may notarize a document in a foreign language that they are not familiar with, as a notary public is not responsible for the contents of the document. The notary should be able to identify the type of document being notarized for entry in the notary’s journal. If unable to identify the type of document, the notary must make an entry to that effect in their journal, e.g. “a document in a foreign language.”

Grounds for commission refusal, suspension and revocation
Aside from commission denial as a result of the background check, there are many reasons for a notary to find his or her commission in jeopardy. Any conviction of a misdemeanor or felony including convictions resulting from a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), denial, revocation or suspension of any professional license as a result of misconduct or dishonesty. Additionally, a notary’s failure to properly carry out  the required duties as a notary can result in criminal prosecution as well as personal liability in addition to commission suspension or revocation. The notary  also risks suspension or revocation as a result of being found liable for damages if the suit was based upon fraud or misrepresentation. Finally, if the notary uses false or misleading advertising which suggests that the notary has rights or powers which are prohibited by law, the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke the commission. Previously revoked commissions may be cause for the Secretary of State to deny any future applications from that applicant.       

Change of name, residence of principal place of business

If a notary changes residence or their principal place of business, the notary must inform the Secretary of State, in writing by certified mail within 30 days. The notary is not required to file a new oath and bond within a new county, but may elect to do so. The notification must include: 1) Name of the notary as on the commission, 2) commission number and expiration date of commission, 3) whether change of address is for the business, residence, and/or for mailing purposes, 4) new address, 5) signed and dated by the notary.

Taking Depositions

If required to take a deposition, the notary should refer these services to an attorney.

Electronic Signatures

Notarization of electronic signatures is acceptable but the notary must also sign electronically.  Except for a California subdivision map, current law requires a notary seal on the document in order for the document to be properly notarized, but there are exceptions made if the document is electronic. If there is no notary seal present with the notary’s electronic signature, new California law ((Government code section 27931(e)(2004)) permits the county recorder to accept the document for recording without the seal as long as the document contains the following information:




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