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  • What is a Notary?
    A Notary is a person of integrity, appointed by the Secretary of State. They Are authorized to verify the identity of document signers, serve as witnesses to legal agreements and documents, perform copy certifications, witness signatures, and administer oaths and affirmations.
  • What is a Notarization?
    A notarization is the official fraud-deterrent process that assures all parties of a transaction that a document is authentic and can be trusted. It is a three-part process, performed by a Notary Public, that includes of vetting, certifying and record-keeping. Notarizations are sometimes referred to as "notarial acts." Above all, a notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that the signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended for the terms of the document to be in full force and effect.
  • What is an Acknowledgment?
    An acknowledgment is typically performed on documents controlling or conveying ownership of valuable assets. Such documents include real property deeds, powers of attorney and trusts. For an acknowledgment, the signer must appear in person at the time of notarization to be positively identified and to declare (acknowledge) that the signature on the document is his or her own, that it was willingly made and that the provisions in the document are intended to take effect exactly as written.
  • What is a Jurat?
    A jurat is typically performed on evidentiary documents that are critical to the operation of our civil and criminal justice system. Such documents include affidavits, depositions, and interrogatories. For a jurat, the signer must appear in person at the time of notarization to sign the document and to speak aloud an oath or affirmation promising that the statements in the document are true.
  • What is an Oath or Affirmation?
    An oath is a spoken pledge to a supreme being. An affirmation is a spoken promise on one's personal honor. (A person who takes an oath or affirmation in connection with an official proceeding may be prosecuted for perjury should he or she fail to be truthful.)
  • What is a Copy Certification?
    A Copy Certification is where a Notary certifies that a copy of an original document is an accurate and true reproduction of the original. In California, a Notary can only certify a copy of Powers of Attorney. For copy certification of other documents, a signer must write a statement declaring that the reproduction is a true copy of an original document, and then sign that statement. A notary can then notarize the declarant’s signature by proving the identity of the signer, which is an acknowledgment, or by administering an oath to the declarant swearing that the statement is true which is a Jurat.
  • What is a Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness?
    A Proof of Execution by subscribing witness is used when a principal signer cannot appear before a Notary in person. The subscribing witness must appear on the principal's behalf to prove the execution by the principal. The Notary must verify the identity of the subscribing witness by the oath of a credible witness whom the Notary personally knows and who personally knows the subscribing witness. A Proof of Execution by a subscribing witness cannot be used in conjunction with any Power of Attorney, Deed of Trust, Mortgage, Security Agreement, Quitclaim Deed, Grant Deed document, or any instrument affecting real property, nor any document requiring a Notary to obtain a thumbprint in the notary public journal from the party signing the document.
  • What Notarial Act should I choose?
    Occasionally the notarial wording is not found on the document you need notarized. When this happens, the signer should ask the receiving agency what type of notarization is required. The signer may also seek advice from an attorney or simply choose the Notarial act for themselves. ( see types of Notarial Acts)
  • What type of ID do I need to bring?
    Proper identification is required for any Notarial act. Every signer must be identified through one of the following approved identification documents listed in California Code 1185[b]: California Driver License or ID Card (non-driver’s) A United States Passport or Passport card Driver license or ID card (non-driver’s) issued by another U.S. state. Mexican or Canadian driver license issued by an authorized agency US Military identification card (must have physical description, photo, signature, and serial number) A valid foreign passport from the applicant’s country of citizenship (must have physical description, photo, signature, serial number) California State, County, or City employee ID card (Must include photo, serial number, signature, and issue or expiration date) Federally recognized Tribal ID card (must have physical description, photo, signature, serial number) A valid consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant’s country of citizenship (must have physical description, photo, signature, serial number) An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation if the inmate is in prison, or any form of inmate identification issued by a sheriff’s department if the inmate is in custody in a local detention facility (All of the identification documents listed above must be current or issued within the past 5 years in order to be accepted) Should you be unable to provide one of these ID cards, you may be identified by the oath or affirmation of one credible witness personally known to the Notary who is identified through their own approved ID card or the oath or affirmation of two credible witnesses not personally known to the Notary and who is identified through their own approved ID card (Credible witnesses must know the signer personally and must be impartial to the transaction)
  • Does getting my document notarized mean my document is true and correct?
    No, Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of the documents they notarize. Notaries help prevent fraud by certifying the identity of the signer. The signer is responsible for the accuracy of the document.
  • May a Notary give legal advice?
    No, only Attorneys may give legal advice. A notary is not a substitute for legal advice of legal counsel. Any legal questions about your document should be addressed to the issuing/receiving agency or an attorney.
  • What is an Authentication?
    Authentication is a process by which a government agency or authorized body confirms the authenticity of a document for use in another country. The authentication process can vary depending on the country and type of document involved, but typically involves verifying the signatures, seals, and other information on the document. Once a document has been authenticated, it can be used for legal purposes in the foreign country. Authentication is often required for documents such as diplomas, certificates, and legal agreements, and can be a complex and time-consuming process.
  • What is Legalization?
    Legalization is a process of authenticating a document that is required for use in a foreign country. It involves obtaining a series of seals and signatures from various government agencies to confirm that the document is genuine and meets the legal requirements of the destination country. Legalization can be necessary for documents such as commercial agreements, certificates of origin, and other legal documents. The process can vary depending on the country and type of document, and may involve translation and notarization in addition to authentication. Once a document has been legalized, it can be used for legal purposes in the foreign country.
  • What is an Apostille?
    An Apostille is a special type of certificate that is used to authenticate the origin of a document for use in another country. It is issued by a government agency in the country where the document was created and is recognized by other countries that are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. The Apostille confirms the authenticity of the document so that it can be used for legal purposes abroad without the need for further authentication.
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