Bulletin: CA2022003

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Bulletin: CA2022003

Bulletin Document
V 6
Date: September 30, 2022
To: All California Issuing Offices
RE: UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization in California

Dear Associates:

Stewart Title Guaranty Company (“Stewart”) has recently become aware of some confusion regarding whether the use of Remote Online Notarization (“RON”) is permitted in California. Although Stewart bulletins SLS2020003 and SLS2020004 remain instructive, because California is no longer in a pandemic (which is great news) and California still has not passed a RON law, the use of RON for the notarization of documents involving California property remains prohibited. Accordingly, Stewart bulletins SLS2020003 and SLS2020004 are hereby replaced for the state of California by this state-specific, California bulletin.

By way of background, the California Land Title Association (CLTA) and other industry advocates have been working with California leaders, the California Legislature, and the California Secretary of State to draft a RON law. Unfortunately, the last version of the proposed bill had a number of issues that prevented the CLTA and others from supporting the bill and so the RON bill failed to pass in the legislative cycle ending on August 31, 2022. And, indicative of the position the California leaders and legislature took during the height of the pandemic when most states’ leaders and legislatures were passing temporary RON laws, California’s leaders and legislature refused to sign any such emergency provision.

Lastly, California Recorder’s offices have generally been accepting for recording documents notarized through RON. These offices are likely doing so based upon the existence of California’s out-of-state recognition statutes and full faith and credit laws. However, these statutes and laws were created long before technology for electronic signatures and remote notarizations were developed, and only in-person notarization existed. Despite this evolution in technology, the California leaders and legislature continue to block certain provisions which would allow for uncontested passage of a RON statute. Thus, RON signed and notarized documents may not be relied upon to provide constructive notice because they are not signed and notarized consistent with existing California law.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.


References

Bulletins Replaced:
  • None
Related Bulletins:
Underwriting Manual:
  • None
Exceptions Manual:
  • None
Forms:
  • None