The National Notary Association has published a much-anticipated revision of its Model Notary Act with fraud deterrence, identity theft, and electronic document protection rules, to improve the standards of care for notaries.

The National Notary Act has grown in importance over the past few decades as a guide for lawmakers across the country to provide standards of care for notaries. The four-year effort to improve the guidelines comes amid increasing liability and compliance issues and in the wake of important legal cases.

The updated and expanded Model Notary Act of 2010, now in the public domain, features electronic and paper-based provisions to modernize and enhance the notary office. The revisions culminated a four-year effort by an NNA-recruited, 26-member national drafting panel comprising law professors, high-tech experts, mortgage industry representatives and government officials at every level.

The MNA is intended for state legislators and administrators who want to strengthen notary laws to improve their fraud-deterrent effectiveness in an era of rampant identity theft. An expanded Article III of the act allows the integration of electronic notarization provisions with traditional paper-based rules.

The MNA guidelines define a more proactive role for notaries in securing documents, including updated fraud-deterrence rules for both electronic and traditional paper-based notarization. The new act also adds new provisions for handling loose certificates, recognizing notarial acts performed outside a given state, and for defining a notary-certified copy in a way that is adaptable to both paper and electronic originals.

Since its original publication as the Uniform Notary Act in 1973 — and subsequent updates as the Model Notary Act in 1984 and 2002 — more than 40 states and territories have adopted its provisions.

The Model Notary Act of 2010 can be downloaded from the National Notary Association's Web site at www.NationalNotary.org. To request a printed version, e-mail publicaffairs@nationalnotary.org.

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