Q. Who are Notaries Public?
A.We are members of the community, commissioned by the California Secretary of State, who have taken the time and effort to take the mandated 6-hour class, pass a state examination, have our live scan fingerprints taken for the DOJ and FBI, purchase and record a bond, and be sworn in by the County Clerk in their area. These steps are time-consuming and costly but we want to serve our community and thus we make the time.
Q. What does a Notary write in the Journal and why?
A.The Notary Public records important information about you from the valid photo ID you provide and also the date, time, and place of the notarization. They also write information about the document so if you need the Notary to go to court to prove either you were there or that the document was notarized there is a public record.
Q. What happens to the Journal?
A.When the Notary Public retires or for any reason stops being a Notary Public, all the journals kept in their possession are turned over to the County Clerk. That is how it becomes a public record.
Q. Why doesn’t the Notary just copy the document?
A.That is confidential information that no signer would like to see broadcast. The Notary writes all important information about the document in the journal and does not need to keep copies. It is better for the trees.
Q. How much should a Notarization cost in California?
A.The maximum any Notary should charge for a notarization is $15.00 per signature per document. Let’s say it is a Homestead for a husband and wife, that will be one (1) document with two (2) signatures: the Notary fee would be $30.00.
Q. How do I find a traveling Notary?
A.Most Notary Publics advertise -- online, in the phone book, via social media, or by a friend telling about the good service they had -- so look and ask about A-1 Traveling Notaries.
Q. What if my friend who needs a Notary doesn’t speak English?
A.Most Notaries will help you find a Notary who speaks their language or it could be listed on the online site. Between the person who needs to sign a document and the Notary Public there can be no translators. Who can tell what was said? A-1 Traveling Notaries have Spanish speaking Notaries.
Q. Who gives out the license to be a Notary?
A.The California Secretary of State is the government agency who issues Commissions to Notaries. The commission (not a license) is issued for four (4) years and must be renewed by doing all the steps over again.
Q. What happens if the document has to go to Spain?
A.Because Spain is a member of the Hague Convention, after notarization, you would need to send or take the document to the Secretary of State, Notary Division and they will authenticate the document so that Spain can accept the notarized document. Some other countries will need documents sent to Washington DC.
Q. Why wouldn’t the Notary Public tell me what kind of notarization to put on my document?
A.If the Notary Public tells you what kind of notarization to use, they would be practicing law. Notaries do not answer questions, they ask them. The first law ever written about Notaries in California states that they cannot give legal advice. They also cannot prepare, select, or complete, a document or transaction. If you have questions, they will tell you to consult an attorney.
Q. What is the Notary seal for?
A.The Notary Public seal is a symbol of the office and is only for imprinting on completed notarized documents. It contains all the information about them as a Notary Public. The seal must be affixed near the signature but not cover any words or lines.
Q. This Notary I went to, after she put her ink seal on the paper, she pressed this thing into all the pages. Why did she do that?
A.It sounds like the Notary Public was using an Embosser. It is not mandatory for California Notaries to use an Embosser but when the document is to be copied many times (like a Health Care document) you can always tell the original by feeling the corner for the impression.
Q. How come I have to hand my ID card to the Notary, why can’t they just look at it?
A.Notaries need to hold the ID you brought in to look for various special items embedded in the license to make sure it is lawful. If they just look at it in your wallet, they cannot tip it to move the holograms nor can they use a UV light to see the special images. Law Enforcement officers must also hold the ID so they can swipe it for accuracy. It is just one more way that a Notary works hard to deter fraud.
Q. Why did I have to raise my right hand and answer the questions when I signed?
A.The document must have been needing a Jurat. Don’t worry about the unfamiliar word, it is just one way a Notary performs their tasks. Usually, you are asked to swear or affirm that the document to be signed is true and correct. Having you raise your hand creates one more way that you will remember having your document notarized. You see the document, raise your hand, are asked a question, answer the question, and sign your name. Each step helps you remember that you have had the document notarized.
Q. What is a Notary Public?
A.Notary Public is appointed by the office of the Secretary of State to witness by an official seal and written acknowledgment, or jurat, the signing of documents as well as administer oaths.
Q. Why are documents notarized?
A.To deter fraud. An impartial witness (the Notary) ensures that the signers of documents are who they say they are and not impostors by careful examination of the ID provided. The Notary makes sure that signers have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.
Q. May any document be notarized?
A.For a document to be notarized, it must contain: a) text committing the signer in some way, b) an original signature not a photocopy) of the document signer, and c) a notarial "certificate" which may appear on the document itself or on an attachment. The Notary fills in the certificate, signs it, and then applies his or her seal to complete the notarization.
Q. How does a notary identify a signer?
A.Generally, the Notary will ask to see a current identification document that has a photograph, physical description, a unique serial number and a signature. Usually, it is a Driver License, ID or Sr ID issued by the DMV or a US Passport. Out of state ID is OK. Foreign Passports can also be used.
Q. What ID is required for any notarization?
A. Each signer must present either a current photo ID such as California driver license, ID, or Senior ID issued within the last 5 years; or a US passport. If there is no valid ID two other persons who have valid ID and know the signer will swear to the signer's identity.,
Q. Is notarization required by law?
A. For many documents, yes. Certain affidavits, real estate deeds, Powers of Attorney, and other documents may not be legally binding unless they are properly notarized.
Q. Does notarization mean that a document is "true" or "legal"?
A.No. Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of documents they notarize. Notaries certify the identity of signers and their signature. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.
You must expect to hand the Notary Public your valid photo ID.
We accept IDs from the California DMV: driver's license, IDs and senior IDs as well as U.S. passports.
If the person is from out of state, we can use their valid photo ID from that state.
Persons from another country must bring in their valid passport.
If a person does not have a current valid ID, there must be two people who personally know the undocumented person. They must have valid ID and be willing to swear to their knowing the person. The credible witnesses should not be related to the undocumented person.
Every person involved with the signing of a document will have their information entered into a journal and usually a thumb print as well.
A Notary Public Journal is a matter of public record for each person signing and for each document signed.
The notary MUST see the entire document, not just the single page to be notarized. We only notarize completed documents.
The Travel Fee will be discussed prior to setting an appointment so there is no misunderstanding. (Considering the cost of gas, we make our rates reasonable.)
If everything is properly presented the process of notarizing one document for one person should expect to take about 15 minutes. It is much more involved that just stamping our seal.
Here at A1 Notaries Public, we are dedicated to all your different Notary Public needs.
We have been active for over 15 years and we've won several awards for the best Notary businesses. But, our most important win is making you a happy, life-long customer.