By Brynna Sentel
INDIANAPOLIS—Becoming a notary or maintaining a commission is changing on July 1 with a new law that will provide better protections for notaries and their clients.
The new rules, passed in the 2017 legislative session, increases the size of the bond notaries must have, adds training and allows higher fees for services.
A notary public is appointed by the state to serve as an impartial witness in the signing of important or official documents.
Currently, to obtain this public office individuals must acquire a $5,000 bond, which accounts for any legal fees a customer may face should there be an issue with a notary and it needs to be heard by a court. The current law also limits notaries public to a $2 fee for their services, requires them to live in Indiana and undergo a short training session,
Under the changes to the law, citizens who live outside of state borders but primarily work in Indiana are able to become a notary public for the state of Indiana.
“That makes sense if someone is working in Indiana they can qualify to become a notary here in the state,” said Ryan Hart, a notary and vice president, commercial banking officer at Lake City Bank in Indianapolis.
Under the new law, the bond requirement will be raised to $25,000 and a $10 travel fee may be charged.
Currently no proof of bonding is required but the new law requires Indiana’s secretary of state to keep electronic copies of bonds.
Now, individuals must take an educational course pass along with pass an exam at the time of commission or re-commission. Additionally, notaries public will be required to take a continuing education course every 2 years.
“Ultimately that is a good thing as a bank we have a lot of documents that are notarized and we want to make sure that if we need to enforce those documents in court that we can and make sure that all of our people are properly trained,” Hart said.
Those who are commissioned as a notary public prior to July 1 will be grandfathered in and will not need to abide by the new requirements until they re-commission. A commission is good for eight years.
Brynna Sentel is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.