Every day, thousands of transactions that needs a notary public take place in California. Transactions between strangers are becoming more common these days, which is why most documents are notarized to build trust and legal backing during these transactions.
With very high lawyer fees, most California citizens need notaries that can be assigned to verify and witness signatures on their important documents.
This post is for you if you’ve ever wondered what notarization and public notaries do. Read on to find out all you need to know about notary public service in California.
What Is Notarization and Why Is It Important?
Notarization is the process of authenticating documents and confirming that they’re not defrauding and they’re mutually agreed upon. Also known as the notarial act, this process happens in three steps, and a notary public authorizes it.
Why do documents need to be notarized?
Certain legal documents require notarization to ensure their validity and legal effect. Recognizing the importance and significance of such documents, state governments have designated trained individuals to assist in their execution. These individuals, known as “notary publics,” act as quasi-public officers who verify and attest to the proper execution of these crucial documents following their official appointment.
There are a lot of documents that require notarization, including vehicle title transfer, mortgage documents, and Power of Attorney. When documents are notarized, we know they’re genuine, legally sound, and jointly agreed upon.
The notarization process involves the two parties coming before an approved independent notary public to have their identity confirmed, concede their documents, and ensure they’ve mutually agreed to the terms of the agreement. The notary public completes the process by sealing the records. This action notarizes the documents, which will now be considered authentic before the court of law.
Notarization is vital in that it confirms the signer’s identity is who they say they’re. Secondly, it ensures the signer has agreed to the terms of their will without being forced. Also, it makes the documents valid and can be trusted everywhere.
What is a Notary Public?
A Notary Public is an official appointed by the government to serve as a witness to the signing of important documents. Their primary function is to verify the identities of the individuals involved in the transaction and ensure the authenticity of the signed documents. Notaries Public plays a crucial role in preventing fraud and maintaining the integrity of legal and financial transactions.
The responsibilities of a Notary Public may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but some common tasks include:
- Verify Signatures: One of the primary responsibilities of a Notary Public is to verify the identity of the individuals signing a document. They ensure that the signatories are who they claim to be and that they have willingly and knowingly affixed their signatures.
- Administer Oaths and Affirmations: Notaries Public are authorized to administer oaths or affirmations, which are formal declarations made by individuals to confirm the truthfulness of statements made in a document. This is particularly important in legal proceedings and affidavits.
- Witness Document Execution: A Notary Public is responsible for witnessing the signing of important legal documents, such as contracts, deeds, powers of attorney, and affidavits. Their presence ensures that the signing process adheres to legal requirements and acts as a deterrent against fraud.
- Certify Copies: Notaries Public have the authority to certify copies of original documents. This involves comparing the copy with the original and attesting to its accuracy, making it legally acceptable as a true copy.
- Record-Keeping: Notaries Public maintain thorough records of all the notarial acts they perform. These records typically include information such as the date, location, type of document, and the identification of the signatories. Proper record-keeping is crucial for future reference, authentication, and potential legal challenges.
- Impartiality and Objectivity: Notaries Public must remain neutral and impartial in their duties. They should not have a personal or financial interest in the documents they notarize. This impartiality ensures the integrity of the notarial process and prevents any conflicts of interest.
- Stay Updated on Laws and Regulations: Notaries Public are expected to stay informed about the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to their jurisdiction. They need to be aware of any changes or updates that may affect their notarial duties to ensure compliance and provide accurate services.
- Uphold Confidentiality: Notaries Public are bound by strict confidentiality rules. They must keep all information they encounter during their notarial acts confidential, except when required by law to disclose certain information or when authorized by the parties involved.
- Prevent Fraud and Unauthorized Practices: Notaries Public have a responsibility to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. They must exercise due diligence in verifying identities, examining documents for potential irregularities, and ensuring that the notarial acts they perform adhere to the law.
- Professionalism and Ethical Conduct: Notaries Public are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism and ethical conduct in their interactions with clients and the public. They should act with integrity, honesty, and impartiality, and refrain from engaging in any behavior that could undermine the public’s trust in the notarial system.
Types of Notarial Acts
There are about five types of notarial acts. However, the three most common ones are explained below:
An acknowledgment notarial act is a declaration that a signer understands the terms of a document and voluntarily signs it. The signer can sign an acknowledgment in the presence of a notary or before meeting the notary. A declaration can be signed on behalf of a person, on behalf of another person that’s the attorney of the signer, on behalf of a corporation that’s their representative, or a combination of these.
Acknowledgment notarial act is mainly done for mortgages, deeds, trusts, and other valuable assets.
Here’s how the Acknowledgement notarial act is carried out:
- The signer appears before an approved notary public, either in person or via video conferencing.
- According to California State laws, the notary public will confirm the signer’s identity.
- The signer can sign the document at the notary’s place or before meeting the notary.
- The signer is required to orally acknowledge that they have agreed with the terms of this document and are signing it voluntarily.
Jurat notarial act compels the signer to affirm that the documents are authentic and genuine to the best of their knowledge. In some states, this is regarded as an affidavit and a verification upon oath and affirmation.
Unlike Acknowledgement, Jurat requires a signer to appear before the notary and sign the agreement during the notarization. Jurat involves an oath or verbal affirmation whereby the signer will confirm that the documents are nothing but true. Another individual cannot take the oath or promise on behalf of the signer.
During Jurat, signers are recommended to say nothing but the truth, as false information can lead to serious legal issues against the signer.
Here’s how a jurat notarial act is administered:
- The signer appears before the notary, either in person or remotely online.
- The notary confirms the identity of the signer.
- The notary will administer a verbal oath or affirmation to which the sooner will orally respond. Gestures are not accepted.
Oaths or Affirmations
In this case, the signer solely needs the notary to administer an affirmation or oath orally rather than as a written document. The implication of the commitment and affirmation notarial act is to compel both parties to honest and trust.
However, there are some differences between oaths and affirmations. While oaths are pledges to God or a supreme being that all the terms are authentic, affirmations are pledges to individual personal honor.
Here’s how the Oaths and Affirmation notarial act is done:
- The signer taking the oath or affirmation appears before the notary. Unlike other forms of a notarial deed, this can’t be done remotely online.
- The individual will then raise their hand and hold their religious text to show the importance and significance of their statement. This isn’t a must by law. However, it encourages the oath taker to take the oath more seriously. The notary public will then administer California’s notary oath or affirmation.
- The oath or affirmation taker will then clearly answer with ‘Yes’ or ‘I do to the hearing of the notary.
What Types of Documents Require Notarization?
Numerous documents require notarization. Primarily legal documents involving agreements between two. You would need to notarize your documents if you’re:
- Writing your trust
- Writing a will
- Leasing commercial properties
- Submitting articles of Incorporation
- Submitting legal affidavits
- Starting a new job
- Naming a guardian
- Appointing a Power of Attorney (POA)
- Appointing an Executor
- Applying for a passport
- Signing mortgage documents
Other types of documents that need notarization include:
- Letters of instruction
- DMV documents
- Travel affidavits
- Resident witness
- Medical directives
- Gaming applications
- Adoption papers
- Construction permits
- Resident witness
- Vehicle title transfers
- Nursing home and hospital forms
Get Fingerprinting Live Scan Service Near You With Us.
What do You Need to Know Before Bringing in Your Documents?
Before bringing in your documents for notarization, here are some things you need to know:
- Call your notary public to ask whether you need a witness or not.
- Bring a valid government-issued photo ID with your name, date of birth, serial number, and issuing authority. Acceptable IDs include passports, driver’s licenses, military IDs, and state ID cards.
- Avoid signing your documents ahead of the notarization ceremony.
- Ensure all your documents are complete and authentic, as notarizing false documents can lead to consequences.
What is the difference between a Notary Public and a Signing Agent?
Signing agents have certified notary publics that can assist a lender in guiding a borrower through their loan documents. They help answer home, vehicle, or business loan questions. On the other hand, the Notary public doesn’t have those certifications; therefore, they don’t have the expertise to assist lenders in borrowing.
The job of a notary public is to confirm the agreement between parties and witness the signature of legal documents. Loan Signing agents are familiar with how loan processes work and explain the contract to borrowers; they’re primarily found in the real estate, mortgage, and tax loan niche.
What a Notary Cannot Do
To stay safer, avoid activities you aren’t allowed to do as a notary in California. Here are some things that are notary can not do:
- Carrying out activities related to the practice of law.
- Overcharging for notary services. The 2022 notary service fee in California is $15, according to the national notary.
- Choosing, drafting, or giving advice to parties on how to arrange legal documents.
- Notarizing documents when the user is not around. California doesn’t allow a virtual notarization process.
- Signing notarization certificate in a name other than their own.
- Authorizing copies of documents that are recordable in the public records
It is recommended that you avoid any notary public using Notario Publico in their adverts. A California Notary performs different services from a Notario Publico, which means an attorney in Spanish countries.
How to Become a Notary Public
Becoming a Notary Public
You can become a Notary in your state if you meet the eligibility requirements and follow all of the steps your state includes in their commissioning process. The process varies from state to state, but generally, you would fill out an application, pay the state’s application fee, take a training course or pass an exam, file your bond and oath of office, and buy your Notary supplies., here are general steps that are commonly followed:
- Check eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set by your local jurisdiction. Typically, you must be at least 18 years old, be a legal resident or citizen, and have no criminal record.
- Research requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for becoming a Notary Public in your jurisdiction. This information is usually available on the website of the Secretary of State or a similar government agency.
- Complete educational requirements: Some jurisdictions may require you to complete a notary education course or training. These courses provide you with knowledge about the laws, regulations, and responsibilities associated with being a Notary Public.
- Submit an application: Obtain an application form from the appropriate authority and complete it accurately and honestly. You may need to provide personal information, pay an application fee, and possibly submit fingerprints for a background check.
- Take an oath of office: In many cases, you will be required to take an oath of office administered by an authorized official. This oath affirms your commitment to carry out the duties of a Notary Public in an ethical and responsible manner.
- Obtain a notary bond or insurance: Depending on your jurisdiction, you may need to obtain a notary bond or an errors and omissions insurance policy. These financial protections help cover any potential damages or losses that may occur due to errors or negligence while performing your notarial duties.
- Receive your commission: Once your application is approved, you will receive your Notary Public commission, usually in the form of a certificate or identification card. This document will include your name, commission number, and expiration date.
- Obtain necessary supplies: Purchase a notary seal or stamp and a notary journal. These tools are used to authenticate your notarial acts and maintain a record of your notarial acts.
- Familiarize yourself with laws and regulations: Study and understand the laws and regulations governing notarial acts in your jurisdiction. This includes knowing proper procedures, acceptable forms of identification, and any specific requirements for different types of documents.
- Begin notarizing documents: With all the necessary preparations, you are now ready to start notarizing documents. Always follow the prescribed procedures and exercise due diligence in verifying identities and ensuring document authenticity.
Remember, it is important to stay updated with any changes to notary laws and regulations in your jurisdiction and to conduct your notarial acts in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
What You Should Look for When Choosing a Notary Public in California
There are thousands of California-approved notary public. Choosing the best one can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time working with a notary public. Here are some things to look for when selecting Notary public in California:
- Location: Choose a notary office close to your area to reduce travel costs. Working with a notary service located far from your proximity can be stressful as you must travel to and fro for follow-up meetings. You can search Google maps for the notary service closest to your location.
- Qualification: Before choosing a notary service, ensure you check their qualifications to know whether they’ve specialty in your needs. Many notaries include their qualifications on their websites, business cards, and advert banners.
- Charges: Check how much a notary public charges before agreeing to their service. All states have a cap on how much you are to pay for notary services. You can check the Secretary of State’s Website to know the California notary service fee. However, you should know that this is just the cap, not the full-service cost.
- Association Membership: Another thing to look for when hiring a notary service is their association membership. There are a lot of notary associations in California that require a notary to reach specific criteria before they can join them. It’s recommended you go for notaries that are active members of organizations.
- Communication: How easily can you reach out to your notary public? That’s another thing you’ve to consider before choosing a notary. A notary that’s always a phone call should be your choice so that you can reach out to them when you’re stuck and need help on your notarized documents.
Where to find a Notary Public?
When searching for a Notary Public in California, you have various options available to you.
There are several places where you can find a Notary Public near you:
- Banks and financial institutions: Many banks have Notary Public services available for their customers. You can inquire at your local bank branch if they offer notary services, and if so, they will provide you with the details.
- Law offices and law firms: Attorneys and law offices often have Notary Public services available for their clients. You can contact law firms in your area to inquire about their notary services and schedule an appointment if needed.
- UPS stores and shipping centers: Some UPS stores and other shipping centers offer Notary Public services. You can check with your local UPS store or shipping center to see if they provide notary services and what their hours of operation are.
- Courthouses and government offices: Many courthouses and government offices have Notary Public services available for the public. You can contact your local courthouse or government office to inquire about their notary services and find out when and where they are available.
- Mobile Notaries: Mobile Notaries are individuals who travel to a location of your choice to provide notary services. They may charge an additional fee for travel, but they offer the convenience of meeting you at a location that suits you. You can search online for mobile notaries in your area or look for listings in local directories.
- Online directories: Online directories allow you to search for Notary Public services based on your location. Websites like Notary.net, 123notary.com, and Notary Rotary provide directories where you can find Notary Publics near you.
Choosing a reputable and reliable service provider is essential to ensure that your documents are notarized accurately and in compliance with the law.
Certifix Live Scan is a reputable provider of Notary Public services in California. We offer efficient and reliable services for individuals and businesses in need of notarization. Certifix Live Scan is widely recognized as one of the best options for California Notary Public services due to our professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction. , and extensive knowledge of California notarial laws and regulations.
To find a Notary Public through Certifix Live Scan, visit our website at www.certifixlivescan.com you can easily locate the Notary Public services section, which will provide you with all the necessary information about their services and locations.
We have multiple office locations throughout California, making it convenient for individuals to find a nearby Notary Public. You can use our website to search for the nearest office location to your area. Additionally, we often have extended business hours, which means you have flexibility in scheduling an appointment that fits your needs.
Certifix Live Scan stands out for our highly trained and experienced Notary Public professionals. Our team is equipped to handle various types of notarizations, ensuring that your documents are handled with care and precision. Their commitment to customer service means that you can expect a smooth and efficient notarization process.
Additionally, We provide convenience through our mobile Notary Public services. If you are unable to visit one of their office locations, a Notary Public can travel to your desired location, making the process more flexible and accommodating for your needs.
The Best California Notary Public Services
Certifix LiveScan is a professional Notary service provider in California. We’re the best at what we do and offer our services at a budget-friendly price. Highly trained notaries can answer questions and tell you what you need to bring. Give us a call and get your documents notarized right away!
You Might Also Like:
Get your Live Scan Fingerprinting Near You
Live Scan & ink Card Fingerprinting
Schedule an Appointment Now!
We Offer a Nationwide Network of 1200+ Fingerprint Enrollment Centers
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there different types of Notary Public?
Yes, there are different types of Notary Public, each with specific functions and authorities. The exact types and titles may vary depending on the jurisdiction or country. Here are some common types:
- Traditional Notary Public: This is the most common type of Notary Public. They are authorized to perform a wide range of notarial acts, including acknowledging signatures, administering oaths and affirmations, and certifying copies of documents.
- Mobile Notary Public: A Mobile Notary Public is a Notary Public who travels to a specified location, such as a client’s home, office, or any other agreed-upon place, to perform notarial acts. This type of Notary Public offers convenience and flexibility by bringing their services to the customer.
- Electronic Notary Public: In jurisdictions that allow electronic notarization, an Electronic Notary Public is authorized to perform notarial acts electronically. They use specialized technology and digital signatures to notarize documents in an electronic format.
- Specialized Notary Public: Some jurisdictions have specialized Notary Public designations for specific sectors or industries. For example, there may be a Real Estate Notary Public who specializes in notarizing documents related to real estate transactions.
It’s important to note that the availability of these different types of Notary Public may vary depending on the legal framework and regulations of the specific jurisdiction. Notary Publics must operate within the legal bounds of their jurisdiction and adhere to the laws and regulations governing notarial acts.
What is a notary public signature?
A Notary Public signature is the unique signature used by a Notary Public when performing notarial acts. It is the distinctive mark that the Notary Public applies to notarized documents to signify their involvement and authorization in the notarization process.
The Notary Public signature serves as a recognizable and official symbol that confirms the document has been properly executed under the oversight of a Notary Public. By affixing their signature, the Notary Public affirms that they have verified the identity of the signers, witnessed the signing of the document, and administered any required oaths or affirmations.
Typically, the Notary Public signature accompanies the official Notary Seal or Stamp, further validating the document and identifying the Notary Public responsible for the notarization. Together, the signature and seal enhance the document’s authenticity and deter fraudulent activities.
The specific style and design of a Notary Public signature can vary from one Notary Public to another. Each Notary Public may develop their own distinct way of signing, incorporating unique flourishes, loops, or penmanship techniques. Regardless of the individual style, the Notary Public signature plays a crucial role in certifying the authenticity and validity of the notarized document.
How to become a Notary Public in California ?
- Meet the eligibility requirements: You must be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of California, and possess the ability to read, write, and understand English.
- Complete a state-approved notary education course: California requires all new notary applicants to complete a six-hour notary education course from an approved provider before applying. The course covers the laws and regulations related to notarial acts.
- Pass the notary public exam: After completing the education course, you must pass the California Notary Public Exam. The exam assesses your knowledge of notary laws and procedures. The exam can be taken online or at select testing locations.
- Complete a background check: As part of the application process, you need to undergo a background check conducted by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This includes submitting fingerprints for the background check.
- Obtain a $15,000 surety bond: You are required to purchase a $15,000 surety bond to protect the public from any errors or negligence while performing notarial acts. The bond is valid for a four-year term.
- Complete the notary public application: Submit an application to the California Secretary of State’s office, which includes the completed application form, proof of completion of the notary education course, proof of passing the exam, and the $40 filing fee.
- Take the oath of office: Once your application is approved, you will receive a notification from the Secretary of State. You must then take the oath of office before a county clerk, notary public, or other official who can administer the oath.
- Obtain the notary public commission: After taking the oath, the Secretary of State will issue your notary public commission. This commission includes your name, commission number, and expiration date.
- Purchase necessary supplies: You will need to obtain a notary seal or stamp, which is required for all notarizations. You may also consider getting a notary journal to keep a record of your notarial acts.
- Start performing notarial acts: With your commission and supplies in hand, you are now authorized to perform notarial acts within the state of California. Ensure that you adhere to the laws and regulations governing notarial acts and conduct your duties with professionalism and integrity.