New Notary Guide Available

This just in from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office:

We are pleased to announce the 2015 Notary Public Guide is now available from the Secretary of State’s website.

This free publication has been updated with new material, including information about advertising as a notary, preventing financial exploitation of the elderly, and notario publico fraud. The publication may be viewed online, downloaded, or printed from your printer, and has links to many other resources, as well. It includes a Good Practices review page and sample certificate blanks you can copy or download and printout.

While you’re on our website, don’t forget to check out our Training page.  The ONE online tutorial has been revamped to be even more user-friendly, and live presentations are scheduled throughout 2015. Anyone can take the training and, in fact, most notaries find the refresher very helpful. Look for a seminar near you!

Brush Up on Oregon Notary Law

The Oregon Secretary of State is offering free notary seminars statewide in May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.  Dates, times, and locations are available here.  Get comprehensive training on what a notary is, responsibilities and liabilities, how to notarize, notary certificates, and how to maintain a notary journal.  Learn more about electronic notarization and ask questions about procedures and practices.

Is Notarization Confusing? Attend a Free Seminar

Oregon Notary Laws changed radically last year. Learn the ins and outs by attending one of the free seminars announced by the Oregon Secretary of State:

Brush up your notary knowledge and get the answers to your questions by attending a Secretary of State sponsored seminar for current and future notaries public. This seminar is a comprehensive and thorough examination of notary basics: what a notary is, responsibilities and liabilities, how to notarize, notary certificates, and the notary journal. This is your chance to talk to the state agency that regulates notaries, and participate in lively discussions about procedures, practices and notary laws.

Our office has raised notary education to a new level. We have scheduled free notary seminars throughout the state to give every notary an opportunity to become properly trained and educated about Oregon laws and good notary procedure.

Check back often for new dates, times and locations. See the complete list of seminar offerings here.

Working with Mobile Notaries

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

Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts

Here is an announcement from the Oregon Secretary of State on the new Notary Public Program:

The 2013 Oregon Legislature adopted the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, completely replacing the old notarial statutes with modern and standard language. Please see our announcement page [for] a copy of the new law and proposed rules. To match the updated laws, the Secretary of State has modernized its method of commissioning Oregon notaries public, too. The new system will be in place beginning September 3, 2013.

Whether you are a new notary, being re-commissioned, or simply need to update your record, you may be affected by these changes.

Dates to note:

  • August 21 – LAST DAY to finish the old online Oregon Notary Education tutorial. If you pass the final test by that date, you can use the certificate number to apply under the new system. If you have not finished the tutorial or passed the test, you will need to start over September 3.
  • August 21 – New forms posted on the Notary website. These forms are best submitted after September 3rd.
  • August 21 – The revised Notary Public Guide will go online. You will want to download or bookmark the copy because many of the expectations of notaries public have changed, including a new kind of notarial act for the disabled and the opportunity to notarize electronic records.
  • August 23 – LAST DAY to submit a commission under the old laws. New commission applications must be RECEIVED by the 23rd to be accepted and processed under the old rules.
  • September 3 – FIRST DAY of new law and new system. All commission applications must be done online. Amendments shall be free.
  • September 3 – FIRST DAY of the new Oregon Notary Education tutorial. New applicants (and other interested parties) can take the free online class and learn the new law changes.
  • September 30 – LAST DAY to submit old amendment forms. After this day, any of the old forms will be rejected without processing.