By Deonta Larkins
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s notary laws are being brought into the 21st century, in line with the rest of the nation.
The law signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb will take effect July 1, 2018 and will have an impact on the more than 90,000 notary publics statewide.
Notary publics are authorized by the state to certify documents, take affidavits and administer oath. Under current law, they must live in Indiana, acquire a $5,000 bond and can charge no more than $2 for the services they deliver.
The new law changes that by requiring a $25,000, allowing them to cover expenses that may occur as a result of an improper notarization and clients will be able to recover for damages due to fraudulent acts. The average settlement against a notary is $18,000.
The changes will also allow notaries to charge more for their services because they often have to travel for their services and haven’t been allowed to charge for mileage. The new law allows notaries to charge travel expenses at the federal mileage rate, plus up to $10 for notary services.
Also, notaries will now be allowed to live in other states provided Indiana is their primary place of employment.
Brandon Scott, notary public official at UPS, has been a notary for three years and his commission doesn’t expire until 2021.
“It was pretty straight forward. There was a test online, which was pretty simple. They explain everything well and there is reading material to make you aware of all the actual laws set in place,” Scott said.
He explained there was not any extra or annual testing that was needed of him after taking the test the first time.
A notary seal stamped onto a piece of paper. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
All notaries public commissioned under existing law will be grandfathered in until the current commission expires. Then they will have to follow the requirements of the new law. No existing commissions will be revoked.
To ensure all notaries understand their role and the upcoming changes, notaries will be required to fulfill some educational requirements.
Also, the test will be expanded and notaries will be required to keep their training up to date by taking a class every two years during their commission.
Scott supports the continuing education requirement.
“It really depends on how convenient they make to on us or me,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like it would hinder me too much, every two years doesn’t seem like a big problem.”
Deonta Larkins is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalist students.