What Is A Notary?

General Information & Common Questions

General Information About Notarization

A notary public is an official of integrity appointed by the California Secretary of State to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official acts including administering oaths and affirmations and performing other acts related to the signing of important documents as authorized by law.

It is the foremost duty of a notary to screen the signers of particularly sensitive documents – such as property deeds, wills and power of attorney’s – for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the general importance of the document. Some notarizations also require the notary to put the signer under an oath declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the document is true and correct.

Common Questions

What are mobile notary public services?

A mobile notary is a trusted person that travels to a home, office or specified location in order to perform the notarization of documents and administer oaths or affirmations as authorized by law.

Why are documents notarized?

Documents are notarized to deter fraud. An impartial witness (the notary) ensures that the signers of the document are who they say they are, that they understand what they’re signing and that they’re not signing under duress. Notaries create a trustworthy environment where individuals can share documents with full confidence in the validity of the signatures.

Can any document be notarized?

For a document to be notarized, it must contain:

1) Text committing the signer in some way

2) An original signature (not a photocopy) of the document signer

3) A notarial certificate which may appear on the document itself or as an attachment. The Notary fills in the certificate, signs it and then applies his or her seal to complete the notarization.

When a document is notarized does that mean it’s “true” or “legal”?

No. Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of documents they notarize, they only certify the identity of signers. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.

What is a Certified Signing Agent?

A Certified Signing Agent is a bonded, insured, background checked notary who utilizes his/her knowledge of mortgage documents to assist buyers, sellers and borrowers to sign their real estate documents. They coordinate with the title company, escrow company and the signers to schedule a time and location that is convenient for the borrower or seller. After the documents have been properly signed and notarized, the Signing Agent will return them to the appropriate company as instructed by the originating person or company that contracted with the Signing Agent.