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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a notary public?
What is a certified notary signing agent?
What kind of identification does a notary require?
Can a notary certify vital records?
Can a notary help me complete the document I need notarized?
I would like to have my will notarized. Can a notary do that?


What is a notary public?

A person commissioned by the Secretary of State to serve the public as an impartial witness, to take acknowledgments, administer oaths and affirmations, and to perform such other acts as are allowed or required by law.

What is a certified notary signing agent?

A Certified Notary Signing Agent is a notary public that notarizes mortgage documents for borrowers who are purchasing new real estate, refinancing their current mortgage, or consolidating debt into a first or second mortgage. The notary has usually obtained the designation of “Certified Notary Signing Agent” from an organization such as the National Notary Association. The title refers to the successful completion of an exam specifically geared towards the proper signing and handling practices of mortgage documents.

What kind of identification does a notary require?

A California Identification Card or Drivers License
A United States Passport
An Identification Card or Drivers License Issued by a State Other Than California
A Drivers License Issued by a Canadian or Mexican Public Agency
An Identification Card Issued by any Branch of the Armed Forces of the United States
An Inmate Identification Card, if the Inmate is Currently in Custody

Regardless of what type of identification you choose to use, it must either be current or issued within the last five years.

Can a notary certify vital records?

A notary public may only certify copies of powers of attorney under Section 4307 of the Probate Code, and copies of his or her notary public journal. Certified copies of birth, fetal death, death, and marriage records may be made only by the State Registrar, Local Registrars and by County Recorders.

Can a notary help me complete the document I need notarized?

With the exception of a few circumstances, a notary public may not complete a document that they notarize. Nor can a notary notarize a document which is incomplete. If presented with a document for notarization which the notary knows from his or her experience to be incomplete or is without doubt on its face incomplete, the notary must refuse to notarize the document.

I would like to have my will notarized. Can a notary do that?

The California State Bar advises that when a notary public is asked to notarize a document which purports to be a will, the notary public should decline and advise the person requesting the notarization to consult a member of the California State Bar. If an attorney recommends that the document be notarized, a notary may do so.

"WE ARE NOT ATTORNEYS LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE."