CA Notaries: AB 2834 - Notary Certificate Corrections

Assembly Bill 2834 has been introduced in the California Assembly by Asm Kiley, and would authorize a notary public to correct an error on a notarial certificate upon request. Currently, the bill is set for a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. The full text of the bill can be found here: Bill Text - AB-2834 Notaries public: certificate corrections.

I am writing to let you know that the California League of Independent Notaries has been working closely with the author’s office to make sure AB 2834 is the best bill possible for California Notaries and the public that we serve. While we have made progress, some outstanding concerns continue to be raised.

• In its current form, AB 2834 may cause confusion among notaries and the public, who are left to decide what a clerical error is and when to correct the certificate or issue a new certificate. Unless terms are clearly defined, reasons for correction will be at the whim of the requestor which may not comply with existing law.

• Surprisingly, the bill does not stipulate that a newly issued certificate is marked with corresponding information from the original document as to prevent it from being attached to an unrelated document. Without adequate safeguards in place, a requester with malicious intent may, for example, attach a newly issued certificate to a forged document such as a deed of trust or power of attorney, and thus result in fraud and abuse.

• Finally, we believe that the bill should include an adequate amount of time for a notary to respond to requests for certificate correction and include protections for notaries from any fines or undue liability if a notary cannot fulfill a request due to an unavoidable, exigent business or personal circumstance.

While the bill’s intent may be good, as written, the bill will create confusion, make fraud easier, and expose notaries to increased liability and disciplinary action. For these reasons, we have suggested amendments that stipulate requests for certificate corrections: 1) are limited to a lapsus calami including elements such as venue, date, notary name and title, name of the signatory, and a missing notary signature or seal; 2) issuing a new certificate is limited to instances where the correction renders the original certificate illegible; 3) newly issued certificates include corresponding information from the original document and finally; 4) notaries are given fifteen days to respond to a request for certificate correction.

The CLIN would like to see a more common-sense approach to the practical correction of clerical errors on notary certificates that aligns with our mission to promote policy that strengthens the office of notary public and protects notaries common interests. We look forward to continuing efforts with notaries, stakeholders, and the author’s office to craft a bill that includes responsible provisions to ensure that our notarial system remains as robust and reliable as it is today for decades to come.

At this time, we have taken a position of “oppose unless amended”. We’re not asking you to do anything, I simply wanted to reach out and inform you of the discussions we’ve been having on AB 2834 and let you know about the feedback we’ve received on the bill. In the weeks ahead, we’ll keep you informed on how the bill is developing. If we need you take action, we’ll let you know.

Matt Miller, President
The California League of
Independent Notaries

1 Like

This comes off as a “legal mess” at first glance. I am assuming this applies to an error on the part of a “notary in performance of their act” (as we don’t correct others clerical errors)? Is a notarial act being classified as a “clerical” function when our acts bear legal weight in themselves? Also, having a “do over” on the transaction/doc is a form of correction, so why would one assume the risk and liability of submitting a separate/new certificate? Sounds like some “big wig” wants a raise/promotion by introducing new laws that doesn’t have the stakeholders interest at heart (IMO). If such corrections end up being permitted, send me the original and I’ll attach the new certificate myself, scan a copy for my records (legal safety) then update my journal to reflect the correction. And yet, the curve balls keep coming from CA. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!