What is a Notary Public?
A person appointed by the Secretary of State to witness the signing of important documents, taking of acknowledgments and/or affidavits and administering oaths.
What is a Loan Signing Agent?
A Loan Signing Agent is a notary specifically experienced and trained to handle loan documentation.
What should I bring with me when we meet?
All you need to bring with you is a current form of government-issued identification (see list below). The document should also contain the notarial "certificate" verbiage which may appear on the document itself or as an attachment. If the notarial wording is not on the document the signers are responsible for knowing what type of notarization they need. Please note that a Notary Public legally cannot choose which type of certificate the document requires. If the signer does not know what kind of notarization they need, they must consult with the document issuing agency, receiving agency or attorney to help decide which wording will be needed. A notary is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice.
What forms of identification do Notary Publics accept?
A valid photo identification card is required by each signer, in order for a document to be notarized. One of the following will do as long as it is current or has been issued within the past 5 years:
a. State issued driver's license or identification card
b. U.S. passport
c. Foreign passport
d. U.S. military identification card (with a photograph, physical description of the person, signature of the person, and an identifying number.)
e. Driver’s license officially issued in Mexico or Canada
f. Inmate ID card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (for inmates in custody only)
g. Any form of inmate identification issued by a sheriff's department, if the inmate is in custody in a local detention facility
h. An employee ID card issued by an agency or office of the State of California, or an agency or office of a city, county, or city and county in California
i. A valid consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant's country of citizenship
j. An ID card issued by a federally recognized tribal government
Acceptable ID's generally have the following characteristics:
· Government issued
· Physical description (not required in passports)
· Identification or Serial number
· Expiration date
NOTE: If none of the above Identification is available, or it would be excessively difficult for the document signer to obtain them, two additional persons who do have one of the above documents may be present who will swear to the signer's identity. The two individuals have to be over the age of 18, have valid identification ready for inspection and must swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that they personally know the signer. They will also need to be present at the time of witnessing and sign the notary journal.
Can I sign the document before the notary arrives?
It depends. A document with jurat wording (typically an oath or affirmation) MUST be signed in front of the notary. Documents with acknowledgment wording require only that the signer appear before the notary. They can be signed beforehand. If in doubt, wait until the notary arrives before signing.
Does the name on the document have to match my ID exactly?
Not necessarily. However, the name on the document can be no more than the name on the ID. For example, if the name on the ID is “Sue Ann Smith,” the document can bear the names “Sue Smith,” “Sue A. Smith,” “S.A. Smith,” but not “Sue Ann Taylor Smith” or “A. T. Smith.”
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is a document that is provided by the California Secretary of State as authentication of public official (e.i.: Notary Public) signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification.
Apostilles and Certifications only certify to the authenticity of the signature of the official (notary public) who signed the document, the capacity in which that official acted, and when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears. The Apostille or Certification does not validate the contents of the document.
Authentication Certificates are issued for documents which are destined for use in non-participating Hague countries, and Apostille Certificates are issued for documents destined for use in participating Hague countries.
Please click Apostille Services to find more information about Apostilles.
Why are documents notarized?
Documents are notarized to defer 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 signer(s) have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.
Does notarization mean that a document is “true” or “legal”?
No. Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of documents they notarize. Notaries certify the identity of signers. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.
May a notary notarize a document that is in a foreign language?
Yes, a notary may notarize documents written in a foreign language as long as the notary can communicate with the signer without the help of a translator and the document is complete and the notary is able to understand the certificate wording.
Is my Notary background screened, bonded and insured?
All notaries in the State of California are required to submit to a background screening administered by the Department of Justice and the FBI. A $15,000 surety bond is also required. I am additionally insured and carry a $100,000 E & O insurance.