An Express Article from the California Land Title Association
Bulletin 13/14-23 - September 3, 2013
Assembly Bill 477 adds notaries to the list of mandated reporters of suspected elder and dependent adult financial abuse. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee only after the CLTA and CEA obtained amendments to remove a vague prohibition on notarization as well as amendments to protect notaries from unreasonable investigation and civil liability. The CLTA would like to thank everyone who became involved in our grassroots effort on the legislation.
Current law already applies to financial institutions; AB 477 extends the law to notaries. CLTA had a number of objections to the bill, the most significant being a provision that stated “a notary public shall not perform a notarial act” if the elder “has a demeanor that causes the notary public to have a compelling doubt about whether the elder or dependent adult understands the consequences of the transaction” or “the elder or dependent adult is not acting of his or her own free will.” CLTA and CEA strongly opposed that provision and it was removed.
In addition, the CLTA and CEA were successful in having the bill modified to make it clear that notaries have no duty to review any document beyond those the notary is actually acknowledging. Furthermore, the mandate will only apply to suspected elder or dependent adult financial abuse when the notary knows that the possible victim is an elder or dependent adult. The bill also expands protection against liability for any report by mandated reporters, including notaries.