Notary Liability

Notary Liability

Colorado notary law CRS 12-55-116 defines Official Misconduct by a Notary Public.  It states that:Colorado Notary Law

(1) A notary public who knowingly and willfully violates the duties imposed by Part 1 of the Colorado Notaries Public Act commits official misconduct and is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

(2) A notary public and the surety or sureties on his bond are liable to the persons involved for all damages proximately caused by the notary’s official misconduct.

(3) Nothing in this article shall be construed to deny a notary public the right to obtain a surety bond or insurance on a voluntary basis to provide coverage for liability.

A Colorado notary is required to make an affirmation when he/she applies to become a notary that he/she has carefully read the notary law of Colorado, and that he/she will faithfully perform all notarial acts in conformance with the law.

Colorado Notary Training

Notaries that have attended a Colorado notary training class also learn Colorado notary law and industry best practices.

It would be difficult for a current notary to claim that he/she did not know the notary law.  A notary may also decline or refuse to perform a notarization for valid reasons, such as lack of satisfactory identification, lack of awareness or understanding by the signer, or a transaction that appears to be illegal, unauthorized or fraudulent.

A notary would be acting knowingly and willingly, unless it is some type of notarial act that the notary is attempting without proper knowledge or training, or in a case where a notary is being forced to notarize, while acting under duress, such as a threat of harm or coercion by a customer.

Reasonable Care

Notaries must use prudent and reasonable care to learn and obey notary laws and industry best practices.  Notaries may be found liable for damages proximately caused due to errors and omissions and official misconduct.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause means:  a cause that directly produces an event and without which the event would not have occurred.  [Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition]

Prudent notaries should attend initial notary training and continuing education, attend webinars, read notary publications and websites, and learn and follow notary best practices.  Notary education is a great way for a notary to increase knowledge, reduce liability risk, and better serve the public.

Liability Insurance

Since errors and omissions may occur, a notary should double check his/her work and also have the customer check the work before leaving.  A notary should buy notary liability insurance, known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, to protect against mistakes.  It is inexpensive compared to the protection that it provides.  Colorado notaries are not required to be bonded.

Notaries must seek education and use prudent and reasonable care to avoid liability and official misconduct.

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