0890 Secretary of State
Program Descriptions


The Business Programs Division is comprised of three primary areas: Business Entities, Uniform Commercial Code, and Notary Public and Special Filings.

Business Entities examines, files, and maintains formation documents for new California business entities and qualifies out-of-state and international entities to conduct business in California; and also examines, files and maintains changes to the records of domestic or qualified foreign business entities to ensure the business entities are properly formed, merged, converted, amended, and dissolved in compliance with California law. Statements of Information containing key officers and contact information are also processed and maintained for public and governmental use.

Uniform Commercial Code files certain financing statements allowing lending institutions to protect their financial interest in personal property and established priority in case of debtor default or bankruptcy. Notices of judgment liens, attachment liens, agricultural liens, and equipment liens are also filed in Uniform Commercial Code, as well as notices of various tax liens submitted by state and federal taxing agencies such as the Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service.

Notary Public and Special Filings appoints and commissions qualified notaries public for four- year terms, reviews and approves notary public education courses, and certifies to the authenticity of signatures of notaries public and public officials on documents for use in foreign countries. Special Filings include trademarks and service marks as well as surety bonds that certain business entities are required to file, notices of joint power agreements, city and county charters, and claims for successor-in-interest. This area also has disciplinary functions with regard to notaries public and immigration consultants.

The Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) Registry maintains AHCDs, which allow a person to indicate their medical treatment preferences if they cannot speak or make decisions for themselves. The AHCD also may designate someone else to make decisions regarding medical treatment. AHCDs and related information can be provided upon request to the registrant's health care provider, public guardian, or legal representative.

The Domestic Partners Registry registers same-sex couples regardless of the age of the partners, and opposite-sex couples in which one partner is at least 62 years old, as domestic partners in California.

The Victims of Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund provides limited restitution to victims of corporate fraud who are unable to collect through other means on a judgment against a corporation for corporate fraud.

Safe at Home is a confidential address program designed to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or a reproductive healthcare employee, patient, or volunteer. Participants in the Safe at Home program are provided with a free post office box to use as a mailing address thereby protecting their actual residential address. Once enrolled into the program, Safe at Home serves as a liaison for those participants who qualify for additional confidential services offered by various state and local agencies.