Online Notary Course  for California
     
 

CHAPTER II.

Part B. Types of Notary Public Acts and How to Perform the Acts

Part B explains the most frequent and important acts in California law that a notary public may perform. Please note, a notary public only can use the notary public’s seal for purposes described in the California Government Code and only can use the title “notary public” to render notarial services.
California Government Code section 8207

A notary public must refuse to perform any notarial act that is not described in California law. For example, a notary public is prohibited from using the official seal and title “notary public” either on documents that are not described in California law or without the required notarial wording.
California Government Code sections 8202, 8205 and 8207; California Civil Code section 1189.

Doing either of these prohibited acts may cause the notary public’s commission to be revoked or suspended or application denied.

Most notarial acts relate to another person signing or certifying a document. When a notary public performs an act in relation to a document, the document is commonly said to be “notarized.” In fact, a notary public only notarizes the signature of the person who signed the document. However, a notary public cannot notarize his or her own signature or a transaction in which the notary public has a direct financial or beneficial interest. California Government Code sections 8224 and 8224.1

Section 1. Essential Basics

     a. Examine Document

          i. Incomplete Documents

A notary public cannot take an acknowledgment on a document that is incomplete.
California Government Code section 8205

When presented with a document containing a signature to be notarized, the notary public should visually scan the document to determine if the document is complete. Blank spaces and blank lines should be examined to ensure information is not missing. Also, if a notary public has experience with a particular type of document, and knows what information should be stated in the document, and that information is missing or incomplete, the notary public must refuse to notarize the signature.
California Government Code section 8205(a)(2)

          ii. Foreign Language Documents

A notary public can notarize a signature on a document written in a foreign language, whether or not they are familiar with the language, since a notary public’s function only relates to the signature and not the contents of the document. However, a notary public must be able to communicate with the customer in order for the signer to swear or affirm the contents of an affidavit or to acknowledge the execution of a document, as well as to enable the notary public to obtain proper identification of the signer and to complete the required journal entries. An interpreter should not be used because vital information could be lost in the translation. If a notary public is unable to communicate with a customer, the customer should be referred to a notary public who speaks the customer’s language.
(See generally California Civil Code sections 1189 and 1195; California Government Code sections 8202, 8205 and 8206.)

The notary public should be able to identify the type of document for entry in the notary public’s journal. If unable to identify the type of document, the notary public must make an entry to that effect in the journal, e.g., “a document in a foreign language.” As in all cases, the notary public should determine if the document is complete and must not notarize the signature if the document appears to be incomplete. The notarial certificate in a foreign language document or attached to a foreign language document, e.g., the acknowledgment or jurat, must be written in English. California law requires these forms to be followed exactly and they appear in California law in the English language.
California Civil Code sections 1188 and 1189; California Government Code section 8202

Please note also, special rules apply to advertising notarial services in a language other than English. These rules will be discussed later.

     b. Verify Identity of the Signer

Before performing most notarial acts, the notary public must confirm the identity of the person signing the document. For acknowledgments and jurats, a notary public is required to obtain satisfactory evidence of the signer’s identity.
California Civil Code sections 1185(a) and (b), and 1189; California Government Code section 8202

          i. Satisfactory Evidence

Satisfactory evidence is the absence of any information, evidence, or other circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the individual is not the individual he or she claims to be and (A) paper identification documents meeting certain requirements or (B) the oath of a single credible witness or (C) the oaths of two credible witnesses. California Civil Code section 1185(b)

Since January 1, 2008, a notary public’s personal knowledge of a signer is not sufficient to establish the identity of the signer.

          ii. Paper Identification Documents

The identity of the signer can be established by the notary public’s reasonable reliance on the presentation of paper identification documents meeting the requirements of California Civil Code section 1185(b)(3) or (b)(4). In addition, there must be no information or circumstances leading a notary public to believe a signer is not who the signer claims to be.

The types of paper identification documents listed below may be presented to a notary public to establish identity. These paper identification documents must be current, or have been issued within the previous five years.

  • An identification card or driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles; or
     

  • A United States passport (a U.S. passport need not have a description of the named person); or
     

  • An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody in California state prison; or
     

  • Any form of inmate identification issued by a sheriff's department, if the inmate is in custody in a local detention facility.

Other California approved identification cards, consisting of any one of the following, that contain a serial or other identifying number, a photograph of the named person, a description of the named person, and the signature of the named person are also acceptable (California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4)):

  • A valid consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant's country of citizenship, or a valid passport from the applicant's country of citizenship;
     

  • A driver’s license issued by another state or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency authorized to issue drivers’ licenses;
     

  • An identification card issued by another state (this does not include an identification card issued by a Canadian or Mexican public agency);
     

  • An identification card issued by any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States (military identification cards must still contain all of the information required by California Civil Code section 1185(b)(4) or they cannot be used as identification); or
     

  • An employee identification card issued by an agency or office of a California city, a California county, a California city and county, or the State of California.
     

  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized tribal government.

          iii. Oath or Affirmation of a Single Credible Witness

If there is no information or circumstances leading a notary public to believe a signer is not who the signer claims to be, and it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to present a paper identification document, the identity of the signer can be established by the oath of a single credible witness who personally knows the signer. However, the notary public also must personally know the credible witness and the credible witness must present a proper identification document. California Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)

“Personally known” is not defined currently in California law. But it is interpreted for notarial purposes in California to have the same meaning as defined in former California Civil Code section 1185(b), (see Volume 8, West’s California Annotated Civil Code section 1185(b), (2007 edition), page 63), which is having an acquaintance with a person that establishes the person’s identity with at least reasonable certainty. An acquaintance substantial enough to establish personal knowledge includes multiple, recent meetings with a person, including meetings during which the person is identified by other people. A chain of circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe an acquaintance is who they say they are forms the basis for personal knowledge. For example, co-workers have personal knowledge of each other if they meet frequently at their workplace and colleagues and customers have identified them in the presence of others. A person will not likely personally know a social acquaintance that the person sees infrequently. (See cases collected in West’s California Annotated Civil Code (2007 edition) following section 1185.)

Even though the notary public will personally know the credible witness, the notary public must still confirm the credible witness’ identity by examining a paper identification document that meets the requirements of California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4).

After the notary public has established the identity of the credible witness, the notary public must administer an oath or affirmation to the credible witness to establish the identity of the signer. Under oath or affirmation, the credible witness must swear or affirm that each of the following statements is true (California Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)(A)(i)-(v)):

  • The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;
     

  • The credible witness personally knows the signer;
     

  • The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;
     

  • The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and
     

  • The credible witness does not have a financial interest in the document and is not named in the document.
     

          iv. Oath or Affirmation of Two Credible Witnesses

If there is no information leading a notary public to believe a signer is not who the signer claims to be, and it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to present a paper identification document discussed earlier, the identity of the signer can be established by the oaths or affirmations of two credible witnesses who personally know the signer. California Civil Code section 1185(b)(2). In such a case, the notary public does not need to personally know either of the credible witnesses. The notary public establishes the identities of the two credible witnesses only by the presentation of the paper identification documents meeting the requirements of California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4).

After the notary public has established the identity of the credible witnesses, the notary public must administer oaths or affirmations to the credible witnesses to establish the identity of the signer. Under oath or affirmation and under penalty of perjury, both credible witnesses must swear or affirm that each of the following statements is true (California Civil Code section 1185(b)(2)):

  • The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;
     

  • The credible witness personally knows the signer;
     

  • The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;
     

  • The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and
     

  • The credible witness does not have a financial interest in the document and is not named in the document.

EXAMPLES:

Bob, Fred, and Joyce meet in a hotel lobby for the first time and after discussing the need to have their signatures on important documents notarized, approach Nat Notary. Bob is the signer of the documents and does not have his wallet with him because it was stolen. Fred and Joyce offer to vouch for Bob. Nat Notary refuses to use Fred and Joyce as credible witnesses since Bob, Fred and Joyce have just met and do not personally know each other. Fred and Joyce cannot be credible witnesses to Bob’s identity.

Nat Notary is called to notarize Irene’s signature on a company document. Nat Notary and Irene have never met before. Irene is away from home and left her identification, her Illinois driver’s license, in Chicago. Irene asks Rene to vouch for Irene because Irene and Rene have known each other for years. Nat Notary has also worked with Rene before. Rene can appear as a credible witness for Irene so that Nat Notary can complete the notarization.

     c. Recording Journal Entry

All official acts performed as a notary public must be recorded sequentially in the notary public’s active journal at the time the notarial act is performed. California Government Code section 8206(a)(1).  A notary public is guilty of a misdemeanor if the notary public willfully fails to properly maintain his or her notarial journal. California Government Code sections 8206(a) and 8228.1

The following discussion describes and explains the information that must be recorded in the journal.

1.  The date and time the notary public performed the notarial service. The time may be written in standard or military format, but the law requires the time of the act to be recorded – the date alone is insufficient. California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(A)

2.  The type of notarial act performed.
For example, a proof of execution by a subscribing witness, an acknowledgment, and a jurat are all types of notarial acts. Any member of the public may request a photostatic copy of the journal entry representing a specific transaction, and copies of specific journal entries may be requested by the California Secretary of State, through civil and criminal subpoenas, or by a peace officer investigating a crime. Consequently, each journal entry should be full and complete.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(A)

Best practices tip: A notary public should not write an abbreviation or acronym to describe the type of act. This may avoid confusion or misunderstandings as to the contents of the journal entry and type of notarial act.

3.  The character of every instrument sworn, affirmed, acknowledged, or proved before the notary public. The “character of every instrument” means the kind or type of document on which the signature is being notarized. Most notarial acts relate to another person signing or certifying a document. A description of the document containing the notarial act must be recorded in the journal in addition to the type of act performed.

For example, most signatures on grant deeds are acknowledged. The journal entry for a grant deed will describe the character of the instrument as a “grant deed” and type of notarial act performed as an “acknowledgment.” If more than one document contains notarized signatures, the notary public must record the title or character of each document.

A separate line must be used for each document. For example, if a notary public completes an acknowledgment certificate on a deed of trust and an acknowledgment certificate on a promissory note, the notary public must record on separate lines in the journal that a “deed of trust” and “promissory note” were the character of the instruments with notarized signatures, completing each line of the journal, in full. The notary public cannot simply state that “loan docs” or “closing documents” were acknowledged.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(B)

4.  The signature of each person whose signature is being notarized.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(C)

5.  A statement as to whether the identity of the person making an acknowledgment or taking an oath or affirmation was based on satisfactory evidence.
A notary public must always obtain satisfactory evidence to prove the identity of a person making an acknowledgment or taking an oath or affirmation. The journal entry for all acknowledgments, jurats and proofs of execution must include a statement indicating satisfactory evidence was obtained. California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(D)

If the notary public accepted an identification document as listed in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4) to meet the requirements of “satisfactory evidence,” then the notary public must record the type of identification document, the governmental agency that issued the identification, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires.

If the “satisfactory evidence” is based on the oath or affirmation of a single credible witness, then the journal must contain the signature of the credible witness or the type of identification document presented by the credible witness, the governmental agency that issued the identification, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(D).

Best practices tip: Obtain both the signature of the single credible witness and record the identifying document in the journal.

If the “satisfactory evidence” is based on the oath or affirmation of two credible witnesses, then the journal must contain the signatures of each of the credible witnesses and the type of identifying documents presented by each of the credible witnesses, the governmental agency that issued each identification document, the serial number or other number on each identification document, and the date of issue or expiration of each identification document. California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(E)

6.  The fee charged for the notarial act. If no fee is charged, “0” should be indicated. Only fees for the notarial act should be listed in the “fee” column of the journal. If there are additional charges for travel or other services, those additional charges may be itemized in the “additional information” or “comments” column to distinguish those types of fees from notarial act fees.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(F)

7.  If the document with the notarized signature is a deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust, or other document affecting real property, or a power of attorney, the notary public must require the party signing the document to place his or her right thumbprint in the journal as part of the line item entry for the transaction. If the right thumbprint is not available, then the notary public must have the party use his or her left thumbprint, or any available finger and must record the left thumbprint or which other fingerprint is captured in the journal. If the party signing the document is physically unable to provide a thumbprint or fingerprint, the notary public must record that fact in the journal and must provide an explanation of the physical condition of the person. The thumbprint is not required for trustee’s deeds for a decree of foreclosure or a nonjudicial foreclosure, or a deed of reconveyance.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(G)
 

Section 2. Acknowledgments

The most frequently performed notarial act is an acknowledgment. An acknowledgment is the notarial certificate attached to a document when the notary public confirms the identity of the signer and the signer acknowledges being the signer of the document. The certificate of acknowledgment is identified by the wording “whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same. . ..” A certificate of acknowledgment often will be found at the end of a document.

By completing a certificate of acknowledgment, the notary public is certifying under penalty of perjury:

     1.  That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated and in the county indicated in the venue heading;

     2.  To the identity of the signer (based on satisfactory evidence); and

     3.  That the signer acknowledged signing the document.

California Civil Code section 1189

To perform an acknowledgment, a notary public must:

     a.  Examine the document for completeness;

    
b.  Confirm the identity of the signer (based on satisfactory evidence) and the signer’s acknowledgment of the signature;

     c.  Complete a journal entry for the transaction; and

     d.  Attach a completed certificate of acknowledgment to the document or complete the certificate of acknowledgment at the end of the document. 

California Civil Code section 1188

By completing a certificate of acknowledgment, the notary public is not certifying the legality of the underlying document.

a. Examine for Completeness
A notary public cannot take an acknowledgment of an instrument (document) that is incomplete. The notary public should visually scan the document and if the document appears to be incomplete, the notary public must refuse to take the acknowledgment until the document is completed. However, in determining whether the document is complete, the notary public should ignore information that is intended to be added later such as information to be placed on the document by a county clerk or recorder or for additional signers whose signatures are not being notarized by the notary public. California Government Code section 8205(a)(2)

b. Confirm Identity of Signer and Acknowledgment of Signature
A notary public must confirm that the person signing the document and acknowledging the signature is the person described in the document as the signer. A notary public must confirm the identity of the signer by obtaining satisfactory evidence. The signer’s identity may be established by the oaths or affirmations of one or two credible witnesses, or the signer may present the required identification document.
 
With respect to taking an acknowledgment and completing the certificate of acknowledgment, the signer does not need to sign the document in front of the notary public, but the signer must personally appear before the notary public and acknowledge to the notary public that he or she signed the document.
California Civil Code section 1189

c. Journal Entry
A notary public must record the following details in their sequential journal about every acknowledgment performed. California Government Code section 8206

    
Time and date of the act.

    
Indicate that the type of notarial act performed was an acknowledgment. Best practices tip: The notary public should write out the word “acknowledgment,” rather than use any type of abbreviation.

    
Type of document. The type of document usually will be stated in the title of the document. If the document does not have a title, ask the signer to describe the purpose of the document and record the signer’s description in the journal.

    
Signature of the person signing the document.

    
Indicate that satisfactory evidence of the signer’s identity was obtained. The notary public’s sequential journal must contain a statement that the identity of a person making an acknowledgement was based on satisfactory evidence. California Civil Code section 1185

    
Details of how the identity of the signer was established.

If the identity was established by examination of an identification document described in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4), the notary public must record the type of identification document, the governmental agency that issued the identification document, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires.

If the identity was established by the oath or affirmation of one credible witness, then the notary public must record the name of the credible witness and the credible witness must sign the notary public’s journal or, the notary public must record the type of identification document presented by the credible witness, the governmental agency that issued the identification document, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires.
California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(D)

As noted previously, best practice would be to obtain the signature of the single credible witness and record the information for the identification document of the single credible witness to ensure complete information is available for a public request, a California Secretary of State inquiry, a civil or criminal subpoena, or a peace officer investigating a crime.

If the identity was established by the oaths or affirmations of two credible witnesses, then both credible witnesses must sign the notary public’s journal. The notary public must record the name of each credible witness, the type of identification document presented by each witness, the governmental agency that issued each identification document, the serial or identifying number on each identification document, and the date each identification document was issued or expires.
California Government Code sections 8206(a)(2)(D) and (E)

    
Fee charged for the notarial act.

    
Right thumbprint of the signer, if the type of document is a deed, quitclaim deed, or deed of trust, or other document affecting real property (other than trustee’s deeds resulting from a decree of foreclosure or a nonjudicial foreclosure or a deed of reconveyance), or a power of attorney.


          i. Sample Journal Entries

The California Secretary of State does not endorse or recommend any particular commercially printed notarial journal. Any journal that includes space for recording all the required details is acceptable. Many commercially printed notarial journals have space for recording other information not required by California law, such as the date of the document, the address of the signer and transaction notes.

Most notarial journals provide for recording the details of a transaction across two pages; the record begins on the left and is completed on the facing page. Each page has corresponding numbered lines and the transaction details to be recorded on line 1 of the left page for instance, correspond with transaction details to be recorded on line 1 of the facing page. The following example demonstrates recording the details of a transaction across two pages.

Page 1

Date and Time

Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1

 

 


11/11/17
10:00 am

Acknowledgment

Grant Deed
Grant Grantor
(It is recommended
that the name of the signer be printed in this space because the signature is not always legible.)

Satisfactory Evidence


$15.00

2

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 


Doc dated 11/10/17 but acknowledged signing on 11/11/17

 

 


California Dept of Motor Vehicles California Driver’s License N######,
exp. 1-12-2020

X
Grant Grantor
 

1

 

2


     d. Certificate of Acknowledgment

A certificate of acknowledgment must be completed at the time the notary public’s signature and seal are affixed to the document. The certificate of acknowledgment cannot be added to or altered after the notary public’s seal and signature are affixed to the document. California Civil Code sections 1188 and 1193

Under no circumstances can the signature and seal be affixed in advance of the notarization of a signature. California Government Code section 8214.1(j)

Since January 1, 2006, the California certificate of acknowledgment has been required to be exactly in the form in California Civil Code section 1189, rather than “substantially” in the form in the statute.  Also, the certificate of acknowledgment must be executed under penalty of perjury.
California Civil Code section 1189

Effective January 1, 2015, the following specific disclaimer must appear at the top of the certificate of acknowledgement:  "A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document."  It must be in an enclosed box, appear at the top of the certificate and be legible, i.e., in a font or typeface that is readable and does not impair its readability. 
California Civil Code section 1189.

Since variations in the California form are not permitted, a notary public must ensure that if a document contains a suggested “certificate of acknowledgment,” the certificate must have the statutory wording required by California Civil Code section 1189. If not, then a separate certificate of acknowledgment with the correct exact statutory wording must be used and attached to the document.
California Civil Code sections 1188 and 1189

A notary public may complete an out-of-state acknowledgment form that will be used in another state or territory of the United States as long as the notary public does not determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or make other determinations and certifications not allowed by California law. (California Civil Code section 1189(c)

For example, a notary public could not complete an out-of-state acknowledgment form on a document to be recorded out-of-state if it requires the California notary public to certify the signer is president of a particular corporation. In such a case, the California all-purpose acknowledgment form must be used instead of the out-of-state acknowledgment form. In addition, the California all-purpose acknowledgment form must but used for any document that will be used in another country.

Any certificate of acknowledgement taken within this state must be in the following form:
California Civil Code section 1189

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California }

County of _______ }

On ______________, before me, (here insert name and title of the officer), personally appeared ______________, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

A notary public seal and signature cannot be affixed to a certificate of acknowledgment without the correct notarial wording.

The first part of the certificate of acknowledgment indicating in what county the notary public and person making the acknowledgement are located is the “venue” statement. The venue statement establishes where the notary public performed the acknowledgment and where the signer personally appeared before the notary public. The “State” is always California, since the notary public has jurisdiction only within California. The “County” should be completed with the name of the county where the signer personally appeared before the notary public and acknowledged the signing of the document. Since a notary public can provide services anywhere within California, the “County” in the venue statement may not necessarily be the county where the notary public maintains his or her principal place of business, or the county where his or her oath and bond are filed, but must be completed with the name of the county where the notarial act took place.

The day, month and year must be completed with the date the signer personally appeared before the notary public and acknowledged signing the document. The notary public must insert his or her name and title “notary public” where indicated, and the name of the person who acknowledges their signature on the document after “personally appeared.” Then the notary public must sign and stamp the certificate with the notarial seal. California Civil Code section 1193

e. Penalties

A notary public who completes a certificate of acknowledgment that contains statements the notary public knows to be false may be liable for civil penalties and administrative action.
California Government Code section 8214.15

Additionally, the notary public will be guilty of forgery if he or she issues an acknowledgment knowing it to be false. California Penal Code section 470(d).

A person who falsifies the acknowledgment of a notary public may also be guilty of forgery. California Penal Code section 470(d). Forgery is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year. California Penal Code section 473.)

False certification by a notary public also may be a misdemeanor. California Government Code section 6203

Additional penalties for failing to enter required information in the journal or falsely modifying journal entries are discussed later in this course.

EXAMPLE:  On January 5, 2017, Abe Signer signs a document for his corporation at Abe’s corporate office in San Joaquin County. On that same day, Abe then takes the document to Nancy Notary to have Abe’s signature notarized. Nancy first must establish Abe’s identity. Nancy establishes Abe’s identity by checking Abe’s driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In front of Nancy, Abe acknowledges that it is Abe’s signature on the document. Nancy then needs to fill out the journal. Nancy’s journal must include the date, time and type of act. Nancy needs to have Abe sign the journal. Nancy also needs to make an affirmative statement in the journal that Abe’s identity was based on satisfactory evidence and that the evidence Abe presented Nancy with was Abe’s driver’s license, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Abe’s driver’s license number and the date of issue or expiration of the driver’s license. Nancy enters the fee charged for the notarial act. Last, Nancy fills out the certificate of acknowledgment (as shown below). Nancy enters the name of the county where Nancy and Abe are physically located, the date of the notarial act (January 5, 2017), Nancy’s name and title, and Abe’s name as it appears on Abe’s identification. Nancy then signs the certificate, stamps it with Nancy’s seal and attaches the certificate of acknowledgment to the document.
 

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California }

County of San Joaquin }

On 1-5-2017, before me, Nancy Notary, notary public, personally appeared Abe Signer, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

Section 3. Jurats

The second most frequently performed notarial act is administering an oath or affirmation and completing a jurat. A jurat is the notarial certificate attached to a document when a person signs a document and swears under oath or affirms that the contents of the document are true and correct. The notarial certificate for a jurat is identified by the wording “Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed).” The jurat also typically will be found at the end of the document.

A document containing statements sworn or affirmed by the signer to be true and correct typically is referred to as an “affidavit” or a “declaration,” and the signer will be said to be “subscribing and swearing (or affirming) to” the contents of the affidavit. A jurat must be attached to, or located at the end of, all affidavits subscribed and sworn (or affirmed) before the notary public. California Government Code section 8202

A notary public cannot attach or complete a jurat if the signer of a document does not swear or affirm to the truth of the contents of the document.

By completing a jurat, the notary public certifies:

  • That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated and in the county indicated;

  • To the identity of the signer by satisfactory evidence;

  • That the notary public administered the oath or affirmation; and

  • That the signer signed the document in the presence of the notary public.

    California Government Code section 8202

To perform an oath or affirmation and jurat, a notary public must:

  • Confirm the identity (by satisfactory evidence) of the person signing and swearing (or affirming) to the affidavit;

  • Administer an oath or affirmation;

  • Watch the signer sign the affidavit;

  • Complete a journal entry for the transaction; and

  • Complete and attach a jurat to the affidavit or complete the jurat at the end of the affidavit.

    California Government Code sections 8202 and 8206(a)

a. Examine for Completeness

A document executed with a jurat should not be signed before the document is presented to the notary public because the signer must sign the document in the presence of the notary public.
California Government Code section 8202(a)  

Also, the date of signature for the signer of the document should not conflict with the actual date the signer appears before the notary public to obtain the jurat. Best practices tip: Visually scan the document for completeness. Make sure there are no blank lines or spaces for data to be entered at some later time.

b. Confirm Identity

A notary public must confirm that the person signing and swearing to an affidavit is the person described as the signer in the document. A notary public must confirm the identity of the signer of the affidavit by obtaining satisfactory evidence. In fact, a notary public must confirm the identity of the signer of the affidavit in the same way they confirm the identity of a person obtaining an acknowledgment. The signer’s identity may be established by the oaths or affirmations of one or two credible witnesses, or the signer may present one of the identification documents as stated in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4)

c. Administer Oath or Affirmation and Witness Signature

A notary public must always administer an oath or affirmation before completing a jurat.
California Government Code section 8202(a)

Generally, the notary public obtains the oath or an affirmation under penalty of perjury from the witness that the matters stated in the document are true. California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2093 and 2094; California Evidence Code section 165

Although there is no prescribed wording for the oath or affirmation to be administered by a notary public outside of a civil or criminal proceeding, an acceptable oath or affirmation would be:

“Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the contents of this document are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God;” or “Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that the contents of this document are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
California Code of Civil Procedure section 2094(a); California Evidence Code section 165.

After the signer swears or affirms to the truth of the contents of the document, the notary public must watch the signer sign the document. California Government Code section 8202(a).

A notary public cannot complete or affix a jurat to a document mailed or otherwise delivered to a notary public for which the signer did not personally appear, take the oath or affirmation, and sign in the presence of the notary public in any circumstances, even if the notary public knows the signer.

d. Journal Entry

A notary public must record the following details in their sequential journal about every oath or affirmation administered and jurat given. California Government Code section 8206(a)

  • Time and date of the act.

  • An indication that the type of notarial act performed was a jurat. The notary public simply can write the word “jurat.”

  • Type of document subscribed and sworn or affirmed. The type of document usually will be stated in the title of the document. If the document does not have a title, the notary public may indicate the type of document is a “declaration” or “affidavit.”

  • Signature of the signer.

  • An indication the notary public obtained satisfactory evidence of the signer’s identity. The notary public’s sequential journal must contain a statement that the identity of a person taking an oath or affirmation for a jurat was based on satisfactory evidence.

California Government Code sections 8202(a) and 8206(a); California Civil Code section 1185

Details of how the identity of the signer was established.

If the identity was established by examination of an identification document described in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4), the notary public must record the type of identification document, the governmental agency that issued the identification document, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires.

If the identity was established by the oath or affirmation of one credible witness, then the notary public must record the name of the credible witness and the credible witness must sign the notary public’s journal, or the notary public must record the type of identification document presented by the credible witness, the governmental agency that issued the identification document, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires. Best practices tip: The notary public should obtain the signature of the single credible witness and record the information for the identification document of the single credible witness to ensure complete information is available for a public request, a California Secretary of State inquiry, a civil or criminal subpoena, or a peace officer investigating a crime.

If the identity of the signer was established by the oaths of two credible witnesses, then both credible witnesses must sign the notary public’s journal. The notary public must record the name of each credible witness, the type of identification document presented by each witness, the governmental agency that issued each identification document, the serial or identifying number on each identification document, and the date each identification document was issued or expires.

Fee charged for the notarial act.

Right thumbprint of the signer, if the type of document is a deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust, or other document affecting real property (other than trustee's deeds resulting from a decree of foreclosure or a nonjudicial foreclosure or a deed of reconveyance), or a power of attorney.

The following is an example of a completed journal entry for a jurat.

Page 1

Date and Time Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1


11/11/17
10:30 am

Jurat

Permission to Travel

Jerry Swear
(It is recommended
that the name of the signer be printed in this space because the signature is not always legible.)

Satisfactory Evidence


$15.00

2

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 


 

California Dept of Motor Vehicles California Driver’s License C######
exp. 2-2-2020

X
Jerry Swear
 


1

2

 

e. Notarial Certificate for a Jurat

A completed jurat must be attached to the affidavit or the notary public must complete the jurat included with the affidavit. The jurat must be filled out completely at the time the notary public signs the jurat and affixes the seal. California Government Code section 8202(b)

Jurats must be in the following statutory form. If the language differs on a document with a preprinted notarial certificate for a jurat, it cannot be used and a separate jurat complying with the statutory language must be attached to the document. California Government Code section 8202(b)

A notary public seal and signature cannot be affixed to a jurat without the correct notarial wording.

Effective January 1, 2015, the following specific disclaimer must appear at the top of the jurat:  "A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document."  It must be in an enclosed box, appear at the top of the certificate and be legible, i.e., in a font or typeface that is readable and does not impair its readability.  California Government Code section 8202

 

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California

County of ________________

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this _____ day of _______, 20__, by _______________________, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

The first part of the jurat certificate indicating in what county the notary public and person taking the oath (or affirming) are located is the “venue” statement. The venue statement establishes where the notary public administered the oath or affirmation and where the signer personally appeared before the notary public. The “State” is always California, since the notary public has jurisdiction only within California. The “County” should be completed with the county where the oath or affirmation was administered and jurat completed, that is, where the signer personally appeared before the notary public, took an oath or affirmation, and signed the document. Since a notary public can provide services anywhere within California, the “County” in the venue statement may not necessarily be the county where the notary public maintains his or her principal place of business, or the county where his or her oath and bond are filed, but must be completed with the name of the county in which the notarial act took place.

The notary public must complete the jurat with the day, month and year that the signer personally appeared before the notary public, took the oath or affirmation and signed the document, and the notary public must enter the name of the person signing and swearing to the truth of the document where indicated after the word “by,” then the notary public must sign and stamp the jurat with their notarial seal.

f. Jurats for Documents with Birthdates and Age

A notary public cannot certify copies of vital records, such as birth, marriage or death certificates. However, a notary public can administer an oath or affirmation and give a jurat for an affidavit that states the birthdate or age of the affiant, and/or includes a photograph of the affiant and/or fingerprints or thumbprints of the affiant. In effect, a signer can certify their own vital information by swearing to the contents of a document containing that information.

If the notary public gives a jurat for a document that includes the signer’s birthdate or age and a photograph or their finger or thumb print, the notary public must require the signer to verify their birthdate or age by showing a certified copy of the signer’s birth certificate or an identification card or driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. California Government Code section 8230

EXAMPLE:  Paul Jones and his children formed a small family company to distribute the products they made at home. On July 1, 2017, Paul wanted to get a bank loan, so he went to Nancy Notary who was located in Monterey County. Paul brought a copy of a family document that showed Paul’s age and a thumbprint. This document would be part of Paul’s loan application. Nancy administered the oath or affirmation to Paul and examined a photocopy of Paul’s birth certificate. Nancy could not complete the jurat, though, until Paul returned on August 3, 2017, with a certified copy of the birth certificate. Nancy re-administered the oath or affirmation and completed the jurat. Nancy also entered Paul’s information in her sequential journal, including the fact that Paul presented Nancy with a certified copy of Paul’s birth certificate for review.

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California

County of Monterey

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this 3rd day of August, 2017, by Paul Jones, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

Section 4. Proof of Execution by a Subscribing Witness

If a person, (the “principal”), has signed a document but cannot personally appear before a notary public, another person, (the “subscribing witness”), can appear on the principal’s behalf to prove the principal signed (or “executed”) the document. California Code of Civil Procedure section 1935

This method of proving the person who signed a document is the person described as the signer in it is called a “proof of execution by a subscribing witness,” or simply “proof of execution.” A proof of execution proves the identity of the principal, i.e., the person who has signed a document. A principal cannot swear to the truth of the contents of a document by means of a proof of execution.

A proof of execution by a subscribing witness cannot be used in conjunction with any power of attorney, quitclaim deed, grant deed (other than a trustee’s deed or deed of reconveyance), mortgage, deed of trust, security agreement, or any instrument affecting real property. Also, a proof of execution by a subscribing witness cannot be used on any document requiring a notary public to obtain a thumbprint from the party signing the document in the notary public’s journal.

By completing a proof of execution, the notary public certifies:

  • The subscribing witness personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated and in the county indicated;
     

  • The identity of the subscribing witness was established by the oath or affirmation of a credible witness whom the notary public personally knows and who personally knows the subscribing witness;
     

  • The credible witness presented an identification document satisfying the requirements described in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4); and
     

  • The subscribing witness proved the identity of the principal by stating, under oath or affirmation, (1) the person who signed the document as a party, the principal, is the person described in the document, (2) the subscribing witness personally knows the principal, (3) the subscribing witness saw the principal sign the document or in the presence of the principal heard the principal acknowledge that the principal signed the document and, (4) the subscribing witness was requested by the principal to sign the document as a witness and that the subscribing witness did so. California Civil Code section 1195(c).

To perform a proof of execution, a notary public must:

  • Examine the document for completeness;

  • Confirm the identity of the credible witness, who the notary public personally knows, by examining an identification document described in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4);

  • Administer an oath or affirmation to the credible witness swearing to the identity of the subscribing witness;

  • Administer an oath or affirmation to the subscribing witness swearing to the identity of the principal;

  • Complete a journal entry for the transaction; and

  • Attach a completed proof of execution certificate to the document.

    California Civil Code section 1195; California Government Code section 8206(a)

a. Examine for Completeness

A notary public cannot take a proof of execution of a document that is incomplete.
California Government Code section 8205(a)(2)

The notary public should visually scan the document and if it appears to be incomplete, the notary public must refuse to perform the notarial service until the document is completed. However, in determining whether the document is complete, the notary public should ignore information that is intended to be added later such as information to be placed on the document by a county clerk or recorder or for additional signers whose signatures are not being notarized by the notary public.

b. Confirm the Identity of the Credible Witness

A notary public must personally know the credible witness who is proving the identity of a subscribing witness. Also, the credible witness must personally know the subscribing witness who is proving the identity of a principal signer to a document.

As described earlier, “personally known” in California is interpreted to mean having an acquaintance with a person that establishes the person’s identity with at least reasonable certainty. (See Volume 8, West’s California Annotated Civil Code section 1185(b), (2007 edition), page 63.) An acquaintance substantial enough to establish personal knowledge includes multiple, recent meetings with a person, including meetings during which the person is identified by other people. A chain of circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe an acquaintance is who they say they are forms the basis for personal knowledge. For example, coworkers have personal knowledge of each other if they meet frequently at their workplace and colleagues and customers have identified them in the presence of others. A person will not likely personally know a social acquaintance whom the person sees infrequently. (See cases collected in West’s California Annotated Civil Code (2007 edition) following section 1185.)

Even though the notary public will personally know the credible witness, the notary public must still confirm the identity of the credible witness by examining an identification document described in California Civil Code sections 1185(b)(3) and (b)(4).

c. Administer the Oaths or Affirmations

After the notary public has established the identity of the credible witness, the notary public must administer an oath or affirmation to the credible witness for the credible witness to establish the identity of the subscribing witness. Under oath or affirmation the credible witness must swear or affirm that each of the following statements is true (California Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)(A)(i)-(v):

  • The individual appearing before the notary public claiming to have subscribed their name to a document as a subscribing witness is the person named as subscribing witness in the document;

  • The credible witness personally knows the subscribing witness; and

  • The credible witness does not have a financial interest in the document and is not named in the document.

After the credible witness has sworn or affirmed to the identity of the subscribing witness, the subscribing witness must prove the identity of the document signer. To prove the identity of the document signer or principal, the notary public must administer an oath or affirmation to the subscribing witness. The subscribing witness must swear or affirm that each of the following statements is true:

d. Journal Entry

A notary public must record in their sequential journal the following details about every proof of execution by subscribing witness. California Government Code section 8206(a)

  • Time and date of the act.
     

  • Type of notarial act performed. The type of act would be a “proof of execution by a subscribing witness.”
     

  • Type of document. The type of document usually will be stated in the title of the document. If the document does not have a title, ask the subscribing witness to describe the purpose of the document and record the subscribing witness' description in the journal. (Best practices tip: The name of the principal should be included.)
     

  • Signature of the subscribing witness. (Best practices tip: The name of the subscribing witness should be included, but only the signature is required.)
     

  • Name, signature and identification of credible witness. The notary public must obtain the signature of the credible witness or must record the type of identification document presented by the credible witness, the governmental agency that issued the identification document, the serial or identifying number on the identification document, and the date the identification document was issued or expires. (Best practices tip: The name, signature and identification of the credible witness should be included.)
     

  • Fee charged for the notarial act.

Page 1

Date and Time

Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1


11/11/17
11:00 am

Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness

Articles of Incorporation
Sam Sub
(Subscribing Witness)
(It is recommended that the name of the signer be printed
in this space because the signature is now always legible.)

Chris Credo
(Credible Witness)


$15.00

2

   

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 

Belinda Busy (Principal) (It is recommended that the name of the principal be included)
X
Chris Credo
(Credible Witness signature)
California Dept. of Motor Vehicles Driver’s License for Chris Credo C######; Expires 8/8/2020 X Sam Sub
Sam Sub
(Subscribing Witness)
 


1

 

2


e. Proof of Execution Certificate

Any certificate for a proof of execution by a subscribing witness taken in California must be in the following form.  Other formats with similar wording are no longer acceptable. California Civil Code section 1195

Effective January 1, 2015, the following specific disclaimer must appear at the top of the proof of execution:  "A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document."  It must be in an enclosed box, appear at the top of the certificate and be legible, i.e., in a font or typeface that is readable and does not impair its readability. 

 

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California    }
                                    ss.
County of ________ }

On _____________ (date), before me, ________________ (name and title of officer), personally appeared ______________________ (name of subscribing witness), proved to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument, as a witness thereto, on the oath of _________________ (name of credible witness), a credible witness who is known to me and provided a satisfactory identifying document. ____________ (name of subscribing witness), being by me duly sworn, said that he/she was present and saw/heard ___________________ (name[s] of principal[s]), the same person(s) described in and whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within or attached instrument in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies) as (a) party(ies) thereto, execute or acknowledge executing the same, and that said affiant subscribed his/her name to the within or attached instrument as a witness at the request of ________________ (name[s] of principal[s]).

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

The first part of the certificate indicating in what county the notary public and subscribing and credible witnesses appeared before the notary public to obtain the proof of execution are located is the “venue” statement. The venue statement establishes where the notary public performed the proof of execution and where the subscribing and credible witnesses appeared before the notary public. The “State” is always California, since the notary public has jurisdiction only within California. The “County” is the county where the proof of execution was performed, that is where the subscribing and credible witnesses personally appeared before the notary public, swore an oath or affirmed, and provided proof of execution. Since a notary public may provide services anywhere within California, the “County” in the venue statement may not necessarily be the county where the notary public maintains his or her principal place of business, or the county where his or her oath and bond are filed, but must be completed with the name of the county in which the notarial act took place.

The day, month and year must be completed with the date the subscribing and credible witnesses personally appeared before the notary public. Next to or in place of "name and title of officer" write the name of the notary public and "notary public." The name of the subscribing witness must be completed where indicated after the words “personally appeared” and also where indicated in the first blank line of the second paragraph. The name of the credible witness must be inserted where indicated after the words “on the oath of.” The name of the principal, the person signing the document who has not appeared before the notary public but told the subscribing witness that he or she signed the document, must be inserted where indicated after the words “saw/heard” and also where indicated after the words “at the request of.” Then the notary public must sign and stamp the certificate with their notarial seal.

EXAMPLE The principal, Paul, wants to have his signature on a document notarized. Paul is in the hospital and cannot appear before a notary public. So Paul asks a long time friend, Sue, to visit the hospital and act as a subscribing witness. When Sue comes to the hospital, Sue must watch Paul sign the document. If Paul has signed the document prior to Sue’s arrival, Paul must say (acknowledge) to Sue that Paul signed the document. Then Paul should ask Sue to sign the document as a subscribing witness, and Sue must do so.

Next, Sue must take the document to a notary public. Sue chooses Nancy Notary as the notary public. Sue must bring a credible witness with her to see Nancy Notary, the notary public. Sue chooses Carl, a long time friend, as a credible witness because Carl has worked with Nancy Notary for several years. Therefore, Carl can act as Sue’s credible witness.

Sue and Carl appear together before Nancy. Nancy determines Nancy personally knows Carl and also examines Carl’s California Drivers License to establish Carl’s identity. Then Nancy puts Carl under oath. Under oath or affirmation, Carl swears or affirms that Carl personally knows Sue, that Sue is the person who signed the document as a subscribing witness, and Carl does not have a financial interest in the document signed by Paul and subscribed by Sue, and is not named in the document signed by Paul and subscribed by Sue. Then Nancy puts Sue under oath. Under oath, Sue swears or affirms Sue personally knows Paul, that Paul is the person described as a party in the document, that Sue watched Paul sign the document or heard Paul acknowledge that Paul signed the document, that Paul requested Sue sign the document as subscribing witness and that Sue did so.

Sue signs Nancy’s notary public journal as a subscribing witness. Carl must sign Nancy’s notary public journal as a credible witness, or Nancy must record in the journal that Carl presented a California Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license, the license number, and the date the license expires.

Nancy completes Nancy’s notary public journal entry. Nancy then completes a proof of execution certificate and attaches the proof of execution certificate to the document. Sue takes the notarized document back to Paul.

 

     
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California         }
                                         ss.
County of Sacramento }

On 4/9/2017 (date), before me, the undersigned, a notary public for the state, personally appeared Sue Smith (name of subscribing witness), proved to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument, as a witness thereto, on the oath of Carl Credo (name of credible witness), a credible witness who is known to me and provided a satisfactory identifying document. Sue Smith (name of subscribing witness), being by me duly sworn, said that he/she was present and saw/heard Paul Principal (name[s] of principal[s]), the same person(s) described in and whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within or attached instrument in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies) as (a) party(ies) thereto, execute or acknowledge executing the same, and that said affiant subscribed his/her name to the within or attached instrument as a witness at the request of Paul Principal (name[s] of principal[s]).

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

Page 1

Date and Time

Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1


04/09/17
11:00 am

Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness

Interspousal Agreement
Sue Smith
(Subscribing Witness)
(It is recommended that the name of the signer be printed in this space because the signature is not always legible.)

Carl Credo
(Credible Witness)


$15.00

2

   

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 

Paul Principal
(It is recommended that the name of the principal be included)
X
Carl Credo
(Credible Witness signature)
California Dept. of Motor Vehicles Driver’s License for Carl Credo C######; Expires 3/8/2020 X Sue Smith
Sue Smith
(Subscribing Witness)
 


1

 

2


Section 5. Signature by Mark

A person who cannot write his or her name still can acknowledge his or her signature on a document, or subscribe and swear to an affidavit, by making a mark. (California Civil Code section 14.) To perform a notarization with a signature by mark, the notary public still performs the steps required for the appropriate notarial act, such as an acknowledgment or jurat. The notary public must use the appropriate form as well. The notary public must confirm the identity of the person making the mark, by satisfactory evidence. (California Civil Code section 1185.) The notary public also must perform the following additional steps:

  • If the signer must acknowledge his or her signature on a document, the signer can make a mark where his or her signature should be in the presence of the notary public or can acknowledge that the mark in the place for a signature is his or her mark. Note that the “mark” does not need to be an “X.”
     

  • If the signer is subscribing and swearing to an affidavit, the signer must make a mark where his or her signature should be in the presence of the notary public. Note that the “mark” does not need to be an “X.”
     

  • Two witnesses must observe the signer making their mark and must sign their names next to the signer’s mark on the document. One of the witnesses must write the name of the signer making the mark next to the signer’s mark.
     

  • The signer also must make his or her mark as the required signature in the notary public’s journal. The making of the mark in the notary public’s journal must be witnessed by a person. The witness must sign his or her name next to the mark and write the name of the signer next to the mark. The notary public can serve as the witness for the signer’s journal signature.

The witnesses only are verifying that they witnessed the individual make his or her mark. A notary public is not required to identify the two persons who witnessed the signing by mark or to have the two witnesses sign the notary public’s journal. Exception: If the witnesses were acting in the capacity of credible witnesses in establishing the identity of the person signing by mark, then the witnesses’ signatures must be entered in the notary public public’s journal.

Following are examples of a jurat and journal entry for a signature by mark.

   

I, Bob Smith, have been a resident of California since November 14, 1977.

Date: November 11, 2017

Name:   X       
            Bob Smith

By: Mary Jones           Wendy DeWit 
Witness #1                           Witness #2

 

 
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.  
 

State of California
County of Los Angeles
 

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this 11th day of November, 2017, by Bob Smith, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

 

 

Page 1

Date and Time

Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1


11/11/17
11:30 am

Jurat

Affidavit

Bob Smith
(It is recommended that the name of the signer be printed in this space)

Satisfactory Evidence


$15.00

2

   

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 

Signature by Mark California Dept. of Motor Vehicles Driver’s License
No. C#######
Expires 10/31/2020

X X Bob Smith

Wendy DeWit, Witness

 
 


1

        2

 

Section 6. Certifying Copies

A notary public can certify the copies of only a few types of documents. The notary public only can certify copies of:

Certified copies of birth, fetal, death, and marriage records can be made only by the State Registrar, by a duly appointed and acting local registrar during their term of office, and a county recorder.

To certify a copy of a power of attorney, a notary public must:

  • Compare the original power of attorney document and the copy to make sure the copy is exactly true and correct, or make a copy of the original of the original power of attorney document;

  • Attach a notarial certificate to the copy, stating that the copy is a true and correct copy; and

  • Complete a journal entry.

a. Certificate

A suggested form of notarial certificate for certifying a copy of a power of attorney is shown below.

State of California }

County of ______ }

I _(name of notary public)___ , Notary Public, certify that on _(date)_, I examined the original power of attorney and the copy of the power of attorney. I further certify that the copy is a true and correct copy of the original power of attorney.

__________________________
Notary Public Signature                                        Notary Public Seal

The first part of the certificate indicating in what county the notary public and person requesting the certified copy are located is the “venue” statement. The venue statement establishes where the notary public performed the certification and where the person requesting the copy appeared before the notary public. The “State” is always California, since the notary public has jurisdiction only within California. The “County” is the county where the certification was performed, that is where the person requesting the certified copy personally appeared before the notary public and presented the original power of attorney for a certified copy. Since a notary public may provide services anywhere within California, the “County” in the venue statement may not necessarily be the county where the notary public maintains his or her principal place of business, or the county where his or her oath and bond are filed, but must be completed with the actual county in which the notarial act took place.

The notary public must insert his or her name and the day, month and year the person requesting the certified copy personally appeared before the notary public and the notary public compared and certified the copy of the power of attorney. Then the notary public must sign and stamp the certificate with their notarial seal.

b. Journal Entry

A notary public must record the following details in their sequential journal each time the notary public certifies a copy of a power of attorney. (California Government Code section 8206(a).) Best practices tip: To ensure completeness for a later request for information related to this type of transaction, the notary public should also record the name of the person who is requesting the certified copy, the name of the agent appointed by the power of attorney and the person who signed the power of attorney (the principal).

  • Time and date of the act.

  • The type of notarial act performed was certifying a copy of a power of attorney.

  • The fee charged for the notarial act.

 

Page 1

Date and Time Type of Notarization Character or Type of Instrument Name of Signer Identity Established By:

Fee

 


1


11/11/17
12:00 pm

Certify Copy of Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney
Peter Price, Principal, Andrew Assistant, Agent
(It is recommended that this information be captured)
 


$15.00

2

Page 2

Additional Information
 
Identification Details Signature Thumbprint

 

 

Copy requested by Bob Loaner, First City Bank (It is recommended this information be captured.)      

1

2

 

Section 7. Immigration Documents

A notary public can notarize the signature on a document affecting the immigration or citizenship status of any person. California Government Code sections 8205 and 8223.

The notary public cannot assist a person in completing any immigration document, except for the signature and date. Only an attorney, a representative accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice, or a person who is registered by the California Secretary of State and bonded as an immigration consultant under the California Business and Professions Code may assist a client in completing immigration forms.
California Business and Professions Code section 22440

Only an attorney can advise a person regarding which immigration document or form the person should complete, or advise how the person should answer questions posed by an immigration document or form.

If a notary public is also a California registered immigration consultant, that notary public may assist a client by inserting the answers given to the consultant by a client.
California Business and Professions Code section 22441(a)(1); California Government Code section 8223

A notary public who is also a registered and bonded immigration consultant may charge $15 per person for completing a set of immigration forms. A notary public also can charge an additional fee for each notarial act performed in relation to a set of immigration forms. California Government Code section 8223

Please note that special rules apply to notaries public who are also immigration consultants, or advertise their services in a language other than English. A notary public is barred from advertising in any manner whatsoever that he or she is a notary public if the notary public also promotes himself or herself as an immigration specialist or consultant. California Government Code section 8223

A notary public who is not a licensed California attorney and advertises notarial services in a language other than English must post with the advertisement both in English and the other language, that the notary public is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice about immigration or any other legal matters. The notary public also must list the statutory fees that a notary public may charge for notarial services.
California Government Code section 8219.5

In many countries outside the United States, an individual must be a duly licensed attorney before he or she may obtain a notary public commission. In Latin American countries, the phrase “notario publico” implies that the person is a practicing attorney in that country, which is not the law in the State of California. Under California law, a person may be appointed and commissioned as a notary public without being a licensed attorney. Therefore, a notary public cannot translate the term “notary public,” as “notario publico” or “notario,” into Spanish, even if the prescribed notice is posted.
California Government Code section 8219.5

A first offense for a violation of this law is grounds for the suspension of the notary public’s commission for not less than one year, or revocation of a notary public’s commission. A second offense is grounds for the permanent revocation of a notary public’s commission. California Government Code section 8219.5

EXAMPLE

Catherine Consultant is a notary public and has been registered and bonded as a California immigration consultant. Mikhail and Irina visit Catherine to obtain assistance in completing citizenship forms. Catherine’s business cards say she is a notary public and an immigration specialist. Catherine enters information into the citizenship forms that Mikhail and Irina provide and enters information she knows from her own experience and education as an immigration consultant. For these combined services Catherine charges Mikhail and Irina $100.

Catherine has broken a number of laws. She cannot hold herself out as a notary public in her advertising because she is an immigration specialist. Catherine cannot enter information into immigration forms on her own and Catherine cannot charge more than $15 per person for completing the forms on behalf of her clients. Catherine can charge an additional notary fee for any notarial services, if she limits herself to completing the citizenship forms with only information provided by Mikhail and Irina, but can charge no more than the statutory $15 for each signature notarized. The permitted statutory fees are less than the total Catherine charged Mikhail and Irina.

Section 8. Protests

The duty of a notary public on demand to protest the nonacceptance and nonpayment of foreign or inland bills of exchange, or promissory notes is a nearly obsolete mechanism developed before modern regulation of financial transactions. Only those notaries public employed by a financial institution and in the course and scope of that employment are permitted to perform protests with regard to the specific financial documents described by California law. Because only notaries public employed by a financial institution can perform a protest in the course and scope of their employment, no fee is prescribed for the notarial service since it is part of the notary public’s service to the financial institution.

(California Government Code sections 8205 and 8208; California Commercial Code section 3505.)

Section 9. Depositions

When requested, it is a duty of a notary public to take depositions. However, a notary public cannot record and transcribe an oral deposition in shorthand unless the notary public is also a certified shorthand reporter and licensed by the Court Reporters Board of California. A notary public may take an oral deposition by writing it out in longhand or typing it out longhand on an electronic device. This may be awkward and cause confusion or misunderstanding. If a notary public is asked to take a deposition and the notary public is not a certified shorthand reporter, the notary public should inform the person asking the notary public to take the deposition that the notary public can take the deposition by hand in longhand or by typing the deposition in longhand, or the person may wish to contact a certified shorthand reporter to take the deposition.

Generally, a deposition is a method of providing oral or written testimony under oath outside of a court proceeding. (California Civil Code section 14; California Code of Civil Procedure sections 17, 2025.010 et seq., and 2028.010 et seq.) During an oral deposition, a witness, who has been put under oath, answers questions from a judge, attorney, or other officer of a court. In a civil proceeding, a deposition officer, who also is a certified shorthand reporter, can put a witness under oath, and record the oral deposition in shorthand for transcribing the shorthand record into a standard English language verbatim written transcript of the questions, answers and other statements made during the deposition. (California Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.330.) Consequently, although it is a duty of a notary public to take depositions, a notary public is not necessary when a deposition is conducted.

Section 10. Confidential Marriages

A notary public who is interested in obtaining authorization to issue confidential marriage licenses may apply to the county clerk for approval in the county in which the notary public resides. A notary public must not issue a confidential marriage license unless he or she is approved by the county clerk having jurisdiction. The county clerk offers a course of instruction, which a notary public must complete before authorization will be granted. Additionally, in order for a notary public to perform the marriage, he/she must be one of the persons authorized under California law, e.g., priest, minister, or rabbi. (California Family Code sections 400 – 402.) The county clerk in the county where the notary public resides may or may not approve the authorization to issue confidential marriage licenses. The county clerk should be consulted if the notary public is interested in obtaining approval. (California Family Code section 530, et seq.)


 


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