Notaries Beware!

New for 2013, Government Code § 8206(G) is amended to provide that, for any notarized document affecting real property, the signer must place his or her thumbprint in the notary journal.  Prior to this change, a thumbprint was only required for deeds, quitclaim deeds, deeds of trust affecting real property, and powers of attorney.  The above change is effective as of January 1, 2013.  For a thorough discussion of notary rules and procedures, read the California Secretary of State’s Notary Handbook, found at

The National Notary Association asked “What is a ‘document affecting real property’ exactly?”  In response to that question, the association  came up with the following examples: (a) any document in a loan package requiring notarization, (b) a revocable or irrevocable trust if funded with a family home or other real estate, and (c) any document containing an assessor parcel number to real property.  For more examples, see the National Notary Association’s December 2012 webinar materials, found at

Due to the generality of the thumbprint requirement, the prudent course may be for notaries to require a thumbprint for all documents.

If you have any questions about this issue, please feel free to contact William L. Cates.

Author: William L. Cates