Digital Notarizations at the County Recorder’s Office

New Bill AB 2143 – Digital Notarizations at  the County Recorder’s Office  

 Assembly Bill 2143 will not affect the majority of Notaries in California but observing the acceptance of digital notarizations slow expanse speaks volumes.

In the new year, more real property documents can be electronically notarized and will be accepted by the county recorder’s office. Also, we’re seeing more companies from other industries contracting with the county to file digitally notarized documents as well. Though the movement is slow and controlled, its direction is clear.

Currently, title insurer companies who have a contract with the county can send 3 types of electronically notarized documents to the county recorder’s office for recording. The county recorder’s office records the documents and digitally sends the documents back to the insurer company. This has been occurring for decades with these 3 specific types of documents  though few notaries were aware of it, because the provision did not include  the consumer-facing documents notaries typically handled while sitting with document signers on signing assignments. The Electronic Recording Delivery Act of 2004 specifically barred notaries from electronically notarizing things such as Deeds of Trust and Powers of Attorney. AB 2143 seeks to rectify this by removing the limitation on types of real property documents accepted at the County Recorders’ offices. The new law also stipulates that the agent submitting the document must provide proof of general liability coverage.

Additionally, Notaries at the county recorder’s use a digital signature when notarizing and usually electronic seals are used. AB 2143 states that in lieu of using an electronic seal, a notary can instead indicate: their name, the words “notary public,” the county where the oath of office of notary is filed, the sequential identification number assigned to the notary and the seal manufacture.

What you need to know about AB 2143 and how it will affect you:

Until 2017, the only documents deemed acceptable for digital notarization are a substitutions of trustee, assignments of deeds of trust and reconveyance deeds. Beginning in 2017, the list expands and real property documents such as a grant deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust or power of attorney for real estate can also be sent electronically with a digital notarization.

If you are working with companies contracted to do such business with the County Recorders’ offices, you can notarize documents with a digital signature and the critical information found on your seal (listed above).

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