Change in Law May Affect Advance Directives Notarized After Jan. 1, 2015

Originally posted on March 5, 2015

Californians who opt to have their advance directive notarized may encounter problems if the notary’s certificate of acknowledgement does not include a newly-mandated consumer-specific disclaimer.

Effective January 1, 2015, California Civil Code sections 1189 and 1195 and California Government Code section 8202 require every acknowledgment, proof of execution of an instrument, and affidavit sworn to before a notary public within California, include the following language:

“A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.”

This notification must appear in a box at the top of the certificate, and it must be legible.

Notaries in California who do not use the new wording will be out of compliance with state law.

The notification seeks to reduce fraud by letting consumers know that the Notary’s seal and signature do not authenticate or endorse the contents of a document.

Important Reminders:

  • Use of a notary public for an advance directive is only required if you do not have two qualified witnesses sign the form.
  • A patient advocate or ombudsman must witness the form if you are a patient in a skilled nursing facility.
Because most advance directive forms currently available are not California-specific, they are unlikely to include a box with new disclaimer language. Therefore, a valid acknowledgement form with the new language should be used and attached to the advance directive.

Additional information on the change to notary regulations is available on the California Secretary of State website at