For lawyers who may need the services of a mobile or ad-hoc notary, here are some best practice recommendations:
Verifying the Validity of a Notarial Commission
Call the Corporation Division of the Oregon Secretary of State or visit the Secretary of State Web site to verify that your proposed mobile notary has a valid, current notarial commission. The Corporation Division can be reached at 503.986.2200, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Notaries registered with the Corporation Division prior to September 1, 2013 may not have complete online listings because notaries at that time did not agree to a public record address. The Corporation Division advises:
When you search on our database by name to verify a notary and there is no address available, you can check the stamp information on the document. The commission number, expiration date, and name should match with a record you see on the database.
Alternatively, addresses are maintained on an internal database, so calling the Corporation Division is another method to verify a valid commission.
Complying with Current Laws
Ask your mobile notary if he or she is aware of the new notary law effective September 1, 2013. Sweeping in scope, this law affects nearly every aspect of functioning as a notary in Oregon – from qualification, examination, and application – to minute details of notarization, including:
- Acceptable forms of identification
- Notarizing documents for relatives
- Qualifying as a “credible witness”
- Maintaining notarial journals
- Use of an Official Notary Stamp (in lieu of the former notary seal)
- Procedures for electronic notarizations
This document summarizes the changes from the old law to the new law. The new notary rules may be found here.
If you want to learn more about the new notary law, consider attending a live, free notary public education seminar or take the Web Tutorial (part of the online examination process).
Concerned about your notary’s potential ignorance of the new law? Select a different notary or ask the notary to sign an acknowledgment that he or she is aware of and in compliance with the new law and rules.
Protecting Journal Records
Keeping a proper notarial journal is a long-standing requirement. The new law modified this process. Notaries are now permitted to keep a paper journal, an electronic journal, or both. Ask your mobile notary which journal method(s) he or she uses. If the notary uses an electronic notarial journal, the signature of the signer must be:
- Unique to the signer
- Capable of independent verification
- Retained under the signer’s sole control
- Attached to or logically associated with the electronic journal
- Linked to the data in such a manner that any subsequent alterations to the electronic notarial journal entry are detectable and may invalidate the electronic notarial journal entry
Using Bonded or Insured Notaries
Oregon does not require notaries to be bonded or carry liability insurance. If this is a concern for you, you may wish to use only notaries who are bonded or who carry appropriate coverage.
All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013