Frequently Asked Questions
Confused by the notary process? Not sure what needs to be included on your document to legally confirm your identity? Below are some "Frequently Asked Questions" that will take the mystery out of the Notary Public and exactly what we do!
What is a California Notary Public?
A California Notary Public is a person of proven integrity appointed by the California Secretary of State to serve the public as an impartial witness in confirming identity, taking acknowledgements, administering oaths and affirmations, and performing other acts authorized by law.
What is a Signing Agent?
A Notary Signing Agent is a Notary with distinctive expertise in notarizing loan document signings. A good signing agent is trained and certified.
How much does a notarization cost?
Fees vary and can be as much as $10 in some states and as little as 50 cents in others and is mandated by state law. California law limits the amount to $15 per signature, and a notary may charge travel or appoinment fees, in addition.
Why are documents notarized?
To provide a deterrent to fraud. An impartial witness (the Notary) ensures that the signers of documents are who they say they are and are not impostors. The Notary makes sure that signers have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.
May any document be notarized?
For a document to be notarized, it must contain: 1) text committing the signer in some way, 2) an original signature (not a photocopy) of the document signer, 3) a notarial "certificate" which may appear on the document itself or on all attachment. The Notary fills in the certificate, signs it, then applies his or her seal to complete the notarization.
May a Notary give legal advice or draft legal documents?
Absolutely not. A Notary Public is forbidden from preparing legal documents for others or acting as a legal advisor unless he or she is also an attorney. Violators can be fined and/or jailed for the unauthorized practice of law.
Does notarization mean that a document is "true" or "legal"?
No. Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of documents they notarize. Notaries only certify the identity of signers. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.
Do I have to appear personally for notarization of my documents?
Yes. In California must personally appear before the Notary at the time of notarization with proper identification.
Can you notarize documents that contain blanks?
No. A notary public cannot notarize a document that is incomplete or contains blanks.
May a Notary refuse to serve people?
The Notary shall, as a government officer and public officer and public servant, serve all of the public in an honest, fair and unbiased manner. Only if the Notary is uncertain of a signer's identity, willingness or general competence, or has a good reason to suspect fraud can the notary refuse the notarization. Notaries should not refuse to serve anyone because of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer. Discrimination on any basis is not a suitable policy for a public official.
May a Notary notarize or prepare Immigration papers?
Only a few immigration forms need to be notarized, such as the Affidavit of Support (1-134), but U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regulations state that no one may prepare or file another person's immigration papers unless he or she is all attorney or a U.S. Justice Department-approved "accredited representative." Non-attorneys can provide clerical, secretarial or translating assistance with INS forms, as long as no advice is given. However, courts have held that even the selection of which forms to complete can constitute the practice of law, since the filing of INS forms creates legal consequences having a substantial impact on the applicant.
Can a Notary act as one of the witnesses as well as notarize?
It is not recommended and may even be improper. In cases where a document must be witnessed and notarized, the Notary may serve as either a witness OR as a Notary, but not both.
Can a California Notary perform remote online notarizations (RON)
A California Notary Public cannot Perform notarial services online. Remote Online Notarizations (RON) via webcam are invalid and illegal. In California, the signing party must be physically present before the notary public.