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   Forums - California Notary Forums - Copy certification by document custodian  
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Thread Topic: Copy certification by document custodian
Topic Originator: Martin Basaldua
Post Date May 12, 2009 @ 7:49 PM

Martin Basaldua
1 Posts
(, CA)
Copy certification by document custodian05/12/2009  7:49 PM

This is my first time request for copy certification by document custodian.  How do i do that, and what forms do i attach to the driver license copy?  Also, do i enter it in journal as a jurat?

Thanks,
Martin

Lisa Thornton
233 Posts
(Upland, CA)
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/12/2009  8:46 PM

Email me your fax number and I'll fax the form to you.  My email is LKThornton@gmail.com

The top part can be filled out by the customer (if their writing is neat) and they'll need to sign it.  You complete the bottom half which is the notarial certificate - a jurat.  Administer the oath to them.  Yes, you check the jurat box for your journal entry.  That's the only form you need to attach to the driver's license copy. 

Do NOT use the Copy Certification by Document Custodian form for vital records - birth certificate, marriage or divorce certificate, death certificate.  If the client needs additional copies, they have to order copies from the county clerk - or better yet....refer them to www.vitalchek.com.    You may have to notarize their signature on the application for a birth certificate, marriage or divorce certificate, or death certificate.  But you cannot accept photocopies of a vital record.

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
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RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/12/2009  8:54 PM

It is no different than any other kind of notarization. There are some forms out there that the document custodian can fill out that has a preprinted jurat. But... you don't have to use it. The document custodian can simply write out a statement affirming that the item they have is a true copy, etc. etc. It can say whatever they want it to say... and they must choose between the jurat and the ack. Not you. You can then stamp, type, write or attach a certificate.

You record it in your jounral as it happens. If the signers wanted a an ack... that what you indicate. If they wanted a jurat, then that's what you indicate.

Do not forget that if they want a jurat you MUST put them under oath before they sign it. Too many notaries forget to do this... and failure to adminsiter an oath is grounds for suspension or revocation of your commission. So don't forget.

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
Visit Marian Harmon's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/12/2009  8:59 PM

BTW... Lisa is right about the vital documents. They need to go to the orginator of the document to get a certified copy.

The Copy Certification form is probably the easiest to use, just make sure that the person understands that THEY are the ones swearing, under oath, that it is a genuine copy... and that you're only verifying that a) he took the oath and b) he signed the statement and c) he is who he says he is.

At no point should they think that you are the one certifying the copy nor that the document you notarize is actually an official copy of anything.


Joan Bergstrom
59 Posts
(Riverside, CA)
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RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/15/2009  8:16 PM

I think the best option is to use the CA:

 Copy By Document Custodian

 as Lisa suggested.



Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
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RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/15/2009  11:05 PM

It may be the best option... but we're not allowed, as notaries, to tell them that. All we can do is give them their options and let them decide.

Joan Bergstrom
59 Posts
(Riverside, CA)
Visit Joan Bergstrom's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/16/2009  9:56 PM

It's a given in CA that the signer determines the ACK or Jurat to be attached. 

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
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RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/16/2009  11:48 PM

Yes, we know that... I think you're missing my point. If you carry the form with you, the kind that has the jurat already on it... you should NOT offer to give it to them because you would be determining the type of notarization. They would need to ask YOU for it.

Unless you carry both... and then let them choose. That's possibly different. But even still... should we suggesting the form in the first place? While a specific form may be "best" in our eyes... we are obligated to give them ALL of their options and let them choose, that includes giving them options you feel are inferior.

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
Visit Marian Harmon's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/17/2009  12:51 AM

Let me add an example about what I mean. Yesterday I met a woman to sign a copy of an ID verification so she could get a birth certificate. This is a very common form that I'm sure all of us have seen multiple times. Because of this, I actually carry several copies of this form in my bag... but I will only supply them if I'm asked for them... or, as it happened yesterday, I accidentally wrote her name down wrong on the certificate because I transposed some letters. I noticed the error right away, and because I keep blank copies of this form in my bag... it was no problem to have her fill it out again. I keep several very common forms with me, including the the CCBDC. But... you can darn well bet that I do NOT just offer it to people. I keep them as backup or for times when people ask me for them specifically. Nor will I ever tell anyone that a specific form is "best" for any purpose unless there is an authoritative resource that indicates a specific process.

For example, somebody needs a copy of a birth certificate?  I tell them that per state law, they must request this directly from the County Clek, and that there is a specific application procured they must follow. I have a copy of those instructions from LA County's website along with copies of the application that I got from the county. I have no problem handing them an application packet in this case... because there is only one way to get it done and the information is coming from the authoritative source...not me. The county is the document receiver, so if they have a published process... that's no problem.

But if somebody come to me and asks me to certify that a copy of a check is accurate, for example... I tell them state law forbids me from doing that, however I am able to notarize a statement from them stating that it is a true copy. From there... I will let them use their thinking skills...because beyond that, IMO, is giving legal advice.

If they happen to know about or ask for a CCBDC form, then I have no problems whipping one out. It's not my job to tell anyone what kind of way is "best" for getting this done, and I think it's a disservice to other notaries to let them think that it's best and that they should be recommending it.

Should they carry the form? Yes. Should they recommend it? No.

But...as in the OP's mention, if the person specifically asks for a CCBDC, then yeah... the form is likely the best one to use, but I would make sure that the signer had a choice between a sworn statement and an acknowledgment. Obviously, we all know that the sworn statement is likely the correct one to use.... but we can't tell THEM that.

And no, there is no specific form that is "legal" in CA for this purpose. The one we all have is conveneient, yes... but it may or may not be appripriate for a particular need. That's why I'm so careful about using this form and not just handing it out without being asked for it specifically.  You can't just take the form and say, "This will work, fill it out."  Doing so.. to me, anyway, is actually double the liability... because you're not only telling them what kind of document they need for their purpose, but also telling them what kind of notarial act they need. Not good.

The farthest I will go with this is telling them what I am unable to do.... and then give them a very generic statement of what I can do.... "State law limits the types of copied documents I'm allowed to certify, and this is not one of them. The only thing I can do is notarize your signature on a document, such as a statement from you that this is an accurate copy."

Evangelina Arvizu
112 Posts
(Beverly Hills,, CA)
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RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/22/2009  1:01 AM

Marian. This is incorrect. As Notaries Public, we may direct people, but you are correct that we are not authorized to advise or give legal advice. It is a fine line, but . . . look at it this way: If a person who is visiting an area, and asks for directions to a particular location that you are unfamiliar with, but you do know the general area, you would offer that general information, and then suggest to that person, upon their arrival that they ask for further instruction, correct? That's all that we are doing. When someone comes to us for a notarization of his/her signature, we ask to see the document, correct? We ask to see the identification, correct? Then we ask the person if s/he knows what instrument is needed; and most often the individual will now know, so you pull out a Jurat or an Acknowledgment form, and then explain the difference, correct? Okay, so let's take it another step further. A person with an original birth certificate tells you her/his story, that s/he needs to send proof to another country that her/his original birth certificate is in her/his custody, or in her/his possession, and s/he does not want to part with the only original, and asks you, "What can I do . . . do you know what I can do to prove that I have the original birth certificate?" What do you say, "Gee, I don't know, and if I did know, I cannot tell you?" Common sense is what ought to dictate. A Notary Public might say, instead, "I am not licensed to give you advice about this and perhaps, if I show you examples of forms that we, Notaries Public, are authorized to use, and I fully explain what these are used for . . . " is perfectly okay and does not violate the law. I mean the fine line that separates the practice of law and giving advice is not trespassed with giving, or even offering sound, practical information, or direction when we offer it for consumer protection. We ought to focus on what is appropriate for the consumer, instead of interpreting or misinterpreting the handbook, or the law . . . and I do agree with you there. Pardon my STRONG OPINION about your comment that the "...farthest I will go with is is telling them..." is like putting up an oversized drape to separate an entryway, and telling someone that it is a really a locked door. While it is true that state law limits the types of copied documents, this is too much information for an everyday Joe (who just wants to comply with what is needed, and looks to us/you to provide a direction for her/him, so that s/he can proceed), and that individual may be further confused. Might it be clearer, and more helpful to simply show the forms and offer the information, allowing the individual to ask the questions so that you/we can answer the questions, intelligently, professionally and responsibly? I would love to read opinions about this, as it surfaces many times in these forums.

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
Visit Marian Harmon's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/22/2009  5:13 PM

"What do you say, "Gee, I don't know, and if I did know, I cannot tell you?" Common sense is what ought to dictate."

Oh, heaven's no. I always, always give them some offer of help. One of my basic principles of business that I will never Just say, "No." I will always try to find a solution or offer a solution to the best of my ability.

The only thing I will do is tell them that, because of State law, I can't notarize a copy, but I can notarize a statement from them that it is a true copy. It's all in how I tell them this, by stressing certain words.

Every time I've done that, they've picked up on the hint and followed up with either asking for a form that they can sign or they will hand write a statement on the document or a piece of paper. Most of the time people already know what they want, and will say, "Do you have a document custodian form I can fill out?" In those case, I'm good because they asked for it.

"A Notary Public might say, instead, "I am not licensed to give you advice about this and perhaps, if I show you examples of forms that we, Notaries Public, are authorized to use, and I fully explain what these are used for . . . " is perfectly okay and does not violate the law."


That's what I used to think, actually... but then I had an notary/attorney tell me I was wrong. The reason is that there is no "official" copy certification form issued by the state. So it's not something we're explicitly authorized to issue. The CCBDC form is just a private form/statement that somebody drew up at some point and for which there are multiple versions. It may or may not be adequate for someone's needs. All it is a pre-typed statement with a notarial certificate attached. It does not come from any official source. It's not like the forms that come from the Fed, County or State where there is a specific form to be filed and is public information, like birth certificate applications.

By giving them a form, or showing them different forms, we're telling them what would or might be be acceptable... and we can't do that.

Believe me, I went back and forth on this for some time before I made my decision. I'm not saying others can't do it differently... but I won't do it. No one job is worth losing my commission for giving even an appearance of UPL. I think the perceived  thresh hold for UPL is different for everyone, though.

I love strong opinions... it's better than no opinion or lame ones. Even if one doesn't agree with me, that's okay. I'd rather see well argued opposing opinions than generalized ones that are innacurate and can't be backed up.

Evangelina Arvizu
112 Posts
(Beverly Hills,, CA)
Visit Evangelina Arvizu's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/24/2009  12:01 AM

Wow, have you ever been lucky! I'm nearly always met with glazed-over stares or blinking eyes, and then . . . "What do you mean?" is posed. So, I show the pre-printed forms that I have used from time-to-time, and fully explain in simple lay terms that the form states, in plain English language, which is basically: "Look whom ever reads this ...I am stating that the attached is a true and correct copy of the original," and ". . . this true and correct copy, by my oath, is the same as the original I have in safekeeping." Sometimes they will ask more questions, and sometimes they don't. By showing them, and stating in simple, direct terms what the basic language is, is direction, and it is not legal interpretation or advice; and, again, in my opinion, I can as a consumer advocate state so to the individual. I also am very careful, though, to say: 'You must decide, not I." I disagree with the POV that "We're telling them," as the fine line is still a line, and is present, and it is basic, common English text that, once read, by the individual may be determined by the individual reading it, and supported by direction from an advocate of the consumer, supports the process, and determination by the individual that s/he will use, or refuse. It's the same as saying to someone, who might ask, "where do I sign, and where do I date, and what is today's date?" I always say, "On this line next to the wording "Date" and above the line, where the text appears, Name, or Witness, or Signing Witness (or Signature)." I also state the date . . . it's common. This is what I mean about using some common sense. I agree that no signing is worth losing a commission over and I too respect your opinion, as it is, after all, the Notary Public who is present at the time of the signing, who makes the call. Thank you for your perspective on this.

Marian Harmon
293 Posts
(California City, CA)
Visit Marian Harmon's Website
RE: Copy certification by document custodian05/24/2009  12:36 AM

I think I have been lucky. Like I said, it's in how I say it and stress the words.

I make it very clear that I CAN notarize a statement from THEM which states that the copy is an accurate copy, but that state law prevents me from certifying the copy myself or giving them any advice on how to write this statement.

I have also mentioned from time to time that there are various forms available online to help them with this, and that they are commonly called a Copy Certification by Document Custodian but that there are different formats of this form and I cannot recommend any particular one. That's okay to me, as this conversation usually always happens over the phone.

I also always suggest they speak with the entity that will be receiving the document to see what they will accept.

Mostly though... people call me and directly ask if I carry the form for them to fill out. In that case, I'm fine with giving them a copy, and it is always accompanied with the disclaimer that I'm not responsible, etc....




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