As of January 1st, 2015 there is a new requirement for notary acknowledgements on real estate deeds in California.
A certificate of acknowledgment taken within California shall be in the following form:
— start acknowledgement
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.
On __ before me, (here insert name and title of the officer), personally appeared, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.
I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct. WITNESS my hand and official seal.
— end acknowledgement
The new wording clarifies something which is quite obvious to the notary, but the public has been confused about, the notary does not verify the document at all (nor do they read it in detail, notaries only skim the document for blanks and to ensure all necessary information is present), the notary is only verifying the signature of the person.