A Notary Public is an official of integrity, appointed by the California Secretary of State, to serve the public as an impartial witness (duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest) in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts.
It is a notarial act in which a Notary certifies having positively identified a document signer who personally appeared before the Notary and admitted having signed the document freely.
In addition, the Certificate of Acknowledgement:
It is a notarial act in which a Notary certifies having watched the signing of a document and administered an oath or affirmation. Compelling a document signer to be truthful is the main purpose of the notarial act called a jurat. The Notary’s function in executing a jurat is to appeal to the signer’s conscience and to initiate a process that could result in a criminal conviction for perjury if the signer is found to be lying under oath.
In executing a jurat, the Notary must watch the person sign the document, then have the signer make either a solemn, oral promise of truthfulness to a Supreme Being (called an oath) or a promise on one’s own personal honor (called an affirmation).
The oath and affirmation have the same legal effect.
Jurats are common with documents that may be used as evidence in court proceedings, such as depositions and affidavits.
Effective January 1, 2008 per the State of California, any acknowledgement or jurat may only be executed with proper identification.
All IDs listed below must be current or issued within the last 5 years:
If a signer does not have a state or government issued photo ID that is not expired, then he or she will need two people present who will swear to his or her identity in order to be certified. The oath of a certifying witness is satisfactory evidence for certification. Those two witnesses will have to have proper ID. Medicaid cards, social security cards, credit cards, work IDs are not valid forms of identification.
A photocopy or fax may be notarized, but only if it bears an original signature. That is, the copy must have been signed with pen and ink.
A photocopied or faxed signature may never be notarized.
Care should be taken to copy faxes from thermal paper to regular paper before proceeding in having a document notarized in order to avoid rejection by public recorders.
No. A Notary Public is not an attorney, is not licensed to practice law and cannot give legal advice. For legal inquiries, please contact an attorney or your local Bar Association.