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Notarized means legal, binding, true? NO!

Notarized means legal, binding, true? NO!

There was a new law created for California Notary Publics in 2015, effective on January 1st of 2015. This law states that a box/disclaimer must be present on the notarial wording of each document that says “A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.” Many Notary Publics are assuming that this law was created to inform the public of the misconception that something being notarized makes it valid, accurate, true, legally binding, etc. Notary Public’s only verify the identity of the signer, and administer oaths or take acknowledgments that the signer did sign the document and that they swear that the documents are true. However, just because a signer swear to the truthfulness of the document, this does not make the document true, accurate, or legally binding. This is a very important fact for the public to know, so that they do not become victims of fraud or deceit from someone claiming that a notarized document is true.

For example, if someone signs a statement saying “I, John Doe, swear that I am signing this document and will pay Jane Doe $10,000 on Jan. XX, of 20XX. This is a legally binding agreement to pay” this does not mean that the notary has verified that they indeed are going to pay and that they will pay you. Notarization does not make promises of accuracy, getting something notarized provides assurance that someone with the name listed on the document did indeed sign the document, and gave “their word” to the truthfulness of the document.

If you are concerned with having a truthful and binding legal document, consult a lawyer and have proper documentation drawn up. Do not take documents at face value as being true just because they are notarized. They may be legally binding if a lawyer and court indicates they are, but simply notarizing a piece of paper only verifies the identities of the parties involved in the signing.