Most people think of Notaries Public only as people who stamps documents. For those people who rarely need a document notarized, they often won’t know why certain documents are stamped and what is involved in the notary process.
What A Notary Does
Simply put, a Notary Public confirms the identity of a person that is signing a document. The two basic notarial acts a Notary Public can perform are Acknowledgements and Jurats. An Acknowledgment confirms that the signer is who they say they are and that the signature on the document is theirs. A Jurat states that the signer of the document took an oath to swear or affirm that the contents of a document are true.
Notaries Public are publicly commissioned, which means they have a set of rules they need to abide by. A Notary Public by law cannot advise a signer or aid in the preparation of any documents because this is considered acting as an attorney.
Why You Need A Notary
Certain documents require a notarization, but what does that really mean and why is it needed? The purpose of getting a document notarized is to add a level of trust to the document. A Notary Public helps to prevents fraud by checking the signer’s identity. Both Acknowledgements and Jurats require that the signer appear in front of the Notary Public, which also often helps deter fraud. Therefore, a notarized document is taken as evidence that those who signed it chose to abide by the terms of the document or to confirm the identity and signature of the signer. In some cases, a Notary Public will have the signer verify under oath that the statements in the document are true.
What to Bring To A Notary
Make sure the document is ready for notarization by completing every field except for your signature and the Notary Public’s section. A Jurat requires the document to be signed in the physical presence of the Notary Public, so hold off on signing your document until you reach the Notary Public’s office. You will also need to bring a form of identification to show to the Notary Public. The most common forms of identification that a Notary Public can accept include a DMV issued ID card, driver’s license, or a U.S. passport.
If you do not have a form of identification, you can use a “Human ID,” in which two witnesses with identification confirm the identity of the signer. If using a “Human ID,” it is best to contact the Notary Public beforehand. For more information about acceptable forms of identification, visit the National Notary Association’s website.
Cost of A Notary
In California, a Notary Public can charge a maximum of $15 per signature notarized for an Acknowledgement or a Jurat. More complicated notarial acts, such as Depositions, can cost more. While mobile Notaries Public are convenient, they can charge extra for travel and material fees, which will often end up doubling the price. For Orange County residents, check out our page for a local notarial service.
A Notary Public can notarize a document that is in a different language than they speak because Notaries Public do not confirm the validity of a document’s content. On the other hand, the Notary Public must speak the same language as the signer in order to communicate and assess the validity of their identity.
Notaries in California
California has the strictest standards when it comes to the wording of notary certificates. They must exactly match California wording or the Notary Public will need to attach the correct form. When preparing for a notarization, check your document to make sure it does not require a witness because a Notary Public cannot also act as a witness for the signing in the state of California. California is also one of the many states where a Notary Public also cannot notarize a I-9 form.
Copies of Notarized Documents
A notarized certificate is only valid if the stamp is original, so a copy of a notarized certificate is not valid. If you need multiple copies of a notarized document, you will need to make copies of the document and get each set notarized.
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