What You Need With You
Identification/Satisfactory Evidence: I.D. Cards (current or issued in the last 5 years)
- Driver’s license (issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles or issued by a state other that California)
- Passport (issued by the State Department of the United States or issued by a foreign government, stamped by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
- An identification card issued by a state other that California
- An identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States
- An inmate identification card, issued by the Department of Corrections, if the inmate is in custody.
*All must contain the following information: Physical Description, Issue Date/Expiration Date, Photo, Signature & Serial Number. NO GREEN CARD.
Documents with the correct notarial act: Acknowledgment or Jurat.
Subscribing Witness: Used when a document signer, because of hospitalization or other unforeseen circumstances cannot personally appear before a notary. The signer signs the document either in front of the Subscribing Witness or acknowledges an already affixed signature.
1 or 2 Credible Witness:
1 Credible Witness personally knows signer and Notary Public knows credible witness,
2 Credible Witness personally knows signer, but Notary Public doesn’t personally know credible witnesses.
*A Subscribing Witness or 1 or 2 Credible Witness can not have beneficial interest or named in the document requiring notarization and must be identified by Satisfactory Evidence.
The History Of The Notary Public
The origins of the modern Notary Public office can be traced back to ancient Rome. While advanced in warfare, engineering, and government, widespread literacy among the general population was not one of Rome’s strengths. Acting as a scribe for those who couldn’t read, a public official, called the “notorious,” drafted documents, held them for safekeeping, took notes at public meetings, and witnessed the signing of vital documents. Some of their written acts were given such a level of authenticity that they were considered official documents themselves, and were required to be kept in public archives.
Those lower-level officials, and their legal regulations concerning them, derived from the Roman civil law, spread throughout the empire into the various provinces of Rome. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the appointment of officials to serve with public authority continued in Europe. In France, Charlemagne provided that each bishop, abbot, and count had a notary and provided for notary appointments in every locality. It is reported that Christopher Columbus had a notary with him on his voyages, to attest to the validity of his discoveries. In England, even before the Norman Conquest, grants of lands and manors were made by charters written and attested by notaries. English common law specifically described the authority of notaries in all of their official capacities. Before the American Revolution, U.S. notaries were under the control of the Anglican Church.
Today every civilized nation has officials who serve the function of Notaries Public. Notaries in the United States are governed by the authority of individual states, each with varying rules and granting Notaries Public different authority within their state borders.
Allowable Notary Fees
The state of California has placed a limitation on the fees a notary may charge for their services. Of course, the notary is not required to charge for his or her services and can in fact reduce the charges to whatever amount they wish, but the notary may never charge more than the prescribed fees.
For notarizing one signature on an Acknowledgment, Jurat, Proof of Execution (Subscribing Witness Jurat): $10 per signature.
Deposition: $20 plus $5 for the oath and $5 for the certificate. (Notaries rarely perform depositions in California because that function is typically carried out by a Court Reporter).
Protest: $10 plus $5 for serving a notice of nonpayment and $5 for recording the protest.
Certifying copy of Powers of Attorney: $10
Copy of journal entry: $.30 (30 cents) per photocopy of entry
Only a person who is qualified and bonded as an Immigration Consultant under the Business and Professions Code may assist a client in completing immigration forms. A notary may not charge any individual more that $10 for each set of forms, unless the notary is also an attorney who is rendering professional services as an attorney. This fee limitation applies even if the person is not performing notarial duties.
Voting Materials or Military Pension Documents & Circulator’s Affidavit
A notary is not allowed to charge any fees to notarize these types of documents.
Travel Fees and Extras
While state law has limited the fees for notarial acts, no limitation is placed on a notary for travel costs and other related expenses. Full time notaries most often work as mobile notaries rather than out of an office.
Acknowledgment With Optional Information
Jurat With Optional Information
Jurat With Affiant Statement
Proof Of Execution By Subscribing Witness
Copy Certification Of Power Of Attorney
Copy Certification By Document Custodian
Certification Copy Line Item Entry In The Sequential Journal
Notarization “Does not” guarantee the truth or accuracy of statements in a document. The Notary Public has no obligation to verify the document’s contents.
Notarization “Does not” legalize or validate a document. Documents that contain invalidating flaws before notarization will contain the same flaws after the notarization.
Notarization “Does not” protect a person’s rights to his or her artistic creation.
Notarization “Is not” a patent or copyright.
Notarization “Does” create a public record; The Notary’s Journal can be valuable in the event a notarized document is lost or altered, or if certain facts about the transaction are later challenged. The journal can both protect the rights of individuals and help notaries defend themselves against false accusations of wrongdoing.
Notarization “Does” aid in detecting and deterring fraud.
The presence of a document signer in front of the Notary Public at the same place and at the same time is mandatory.
*Notarizing a document by phone, fax, for an absent spouse or employer, email or based upon the recognition of the signature is not accepted.
Q & A
Why are documents notarized?
To deter fraud. An impartial witness (the Notary) ensures that the signers of documents are who they say they are and not impostors. The Notary makes sure that signers have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.
What does a notary not notarize?
Copies of Birth, Death or Marriage records. (We are allowed to notarize Affidavit of Birth, Marriage, Death),
Documents signed outside of our presence,
Documents with out proper notarial wording.
Notarial Acts Explained
The document you have presented may not have the required notarial wording. Notaries Public are prohibited from advising, instructing or informing a document signer as to which notarization is necessary.
To advise in anyway constitutes the unauthorized practice of law and is illegal.
Please read the following types of notarizations and their functions and inform the Notary Public which type of notarization you wish to be performed. If you are still unsure after reading the following it is your responsibility to contact the documents receiving agency for clarification.
JURAT: (A written affidavit/statements)
Jurat notarizations are required for transactions where the signer must attest to the content of the document, such as all affidavits and pleadings in court. However, jurat notarizations do not prove a document is true, legal, valid or enforceable.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: (Typically, they are executed on deeds and other documents that will be publicly recorded by a county office)
An acknowledgment is to merely confirm the identity of the document signer and acknowledge that he or she signed the document.
Duplicate of an original document that is certified as an exact reproduction.
POWER OF ATTORNEY:
To make a legally acceptable copy of an original Power Of Attorney.
JOURNAL LINE ENTRY:
To make a legally acceptable copy of an entry in a Notary journal. (In response to court order).
To compel truthfulness by a witness. (An oral affidavit taken only by skilled court reporters).
Government Code section 8221 – Destruction, defacement, concealment of records. Willfully destroying, defacing, or concealing records belonging to a notary public now has a four-year statute of limitations. The criminal penalty is not the exclusive relief or remedy provided by law.
Government Code section 8214.2 – Fraud deed of trust. In addition to being guilty of a felony, a notary public who defrauds in relation to a deed of trust on real property single-family residence by means of forgery may be subject to other relief or remedies provided to the parties by law.
Government Code section 8227.1 – Unlawful acts by one not a Notary Public; misdemeanor.
Government Code section 6203 – Criminal offense. A four-year statute of limitations is added to the misdemeanor crime of a notary public who makes and delivers as true any certification or writing that contains statements known to be false.
Government Code section 8223 – Notary Public with expertise in immigration matters. For the purpose of preparing for submission of forms required by the United States U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and only for such purposes, a Notary Public may also accept for identification any documents or declarations acceptable to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Government Code section 8213.6 – Name changes; application; filing. Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a name change is now punishable as an infraction by a fine of up to $500.
Government Code section 8203.1 – Military and Naval reservations. No fees may be charged for notarial acts.
Government Code section 8214.1 – Grounds for refusal. Willful failure to report the theft or loss of a journal is now expressly stated as grounds for revocation or suspension of a notary public. New grounds for denial of an application or revocation or suspension have been added for crimes connected to notarial acts: making a false writing, fraud relating to a deed of trust, improper notarial acts, unlawfully acting as a notary public, filing false or forged documents, forgery, embezzlement, and falsely obtaining personal information. Also, willful failure to provide access to a journal when requested by a police officer is now grounds for revocation or suspension.
Government Code section 8214.21 – Failure to provide journal, penalty. Willful failure of a notary public to provide a peace officer with a journal when requested is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $2,500. The Secretary of State or a public prosecutor may seek such a penalty.
Government Code section 8225 (Amendment to Section) – Notarial Journal – The new law makes it clear that a person who solicits, coerces, or influences a notary public to improperly maintain the notary public’s journal is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Government Code section 8228.1 – Notarial Journal/Seal – The new law makes a notary public guilty of a misdemeanor if the notary public:
a. Willfully fails to properly maintain his or her notarial journal; OR
b. Willfully fails to notify the Secretary of State if his or her notarial journal is lost, stolen, rendered unusable or surrendered to a peace officer; OR
c. Willfully fails to permit a lawful inspection or copying of his or her notarial journal; OR
d. Willfully fails to keep his or her notarial seal under direct and exclusive control; OR
e. Willfully surrenders his or her notarial seal to any person not authorized to possess it.
Government Code section 8206 – Sequential journal. A statement about the identity of a person making an acknowledgment, or taking an oath or affirmation must be based on “satisfactory evidence” in conformity with Civil Code section 1185. Also, a power of attorney is added to the list of notarized documents that require a thumbprint. Further, when requested by a peace officer investigating a criminal offense, a notary public must surrender his or her journal immediately or as soon as possible if the journal is not present. The peace officer must have probable cause to believe the journal contains evidence of a criminal offense. The peace officer who seizes a journal must notify the Secretary of State within 24 hours or as soon as possible of the name of the notary public whose journal was seized.
Government Code section 8214.23 – Failure to obtain thumbprint, penalty. A notary public who fails to obtain a thumbprint as required by Government Code section 8206 is subject to a civil penalty up to $2,500. Either the Secretary of State or a public prosecutor may seek this penalty. There is a four-year statute of limitation for this offense.
Government Code section 8206.5 – Response time for a request. A notary public must respond to a request for transaction in the notary public journal within 15 business days after the receipt of the request and must supply either a photostatic copy of the line item or acknowledgment that no such line item exists. In a disciplinary proceeding for failing to comply with this section, the notary public may raise a defense of unavoidable, exigent business or personal circumstances.