Should A Notary Communicate with the Signer?
I received a phone call asking about mobile notary service to a local Silicon Valley hospital. During our phone conversation the caller mentioned the signer only speaks Portuguese. I informed her that unfortunately, I do not speak Portuguese. She would need to find a notary who speaks Portuguese to communicate with the signer. She found this frustrating and wanted me to still notarize the documents using an interpreter, their niece. I shared that notaries must be able to communicate directly with the signer. It is important as the notary must determine if the signer understands what they are signing and is signing of their own free will (no duress). Our state law requires notaries communicate directly with a signer. Otherwise, notaries may face penalties.
“The completion of a certificate of acknowledgment that contains statements that the notary public knows to be false not only may cause the notary public to be liable for civil penalties and administrative action, but is also a criminal offense. The notary public who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $10,000.”
California Secretary of State Handbook 2010
I encouraged her to find a notary who speaks Portuguese to complete the notarizations.
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