Online Notary Course  for California


Part B. Giving Legal Advice/Practicing Law

A notary public is prohibited from practicing law, unless the notary public is also a licensed California attorney.
California Government Code section 8214.1(g);
California Business and Professions Code section 6125.

Since a notary public comes into contact with a large number of legal documents, from deeds to wills to contracts, among many others, there may be a temptation to offer advice or comment on legal aspects of the documents instead of carrying out the notarial activities alone. But it is very important to remember that a notary public cannot undertake any acts that constitute the practice of the law. Among the acts that constitute the practice of law are the preparation, drafting, or selection of legal documents, or giving advice with relation to any legal document or legal matter. For example, if a customer brings a document to a notary public without a notarial certificate and asks the notary public to “notarize” it, the notary public cannot provide advice or decide for the customer whether a certificate of acknowledgment should be completed or whether a jurat would be in order. The customer must decide.

Best practices tip: If the customer is unsure, the notary public should recommend that the customer confer with the party receiving the document or that the customer consult with an attorney.


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All rights reserved. Revised: 01/02/12.