Frequently Asked Questions about Notary Services
What is a Notary Public?
A Notary Public is a public officer who serves as an impartial witness to the signing and acknowledgement of signatures on documents. A Notary Public may also administer oaths and affirmations. A duly appointed California Notary Public is authorized to perform notary services throughout the State of California. A notary public is a ministerial officer and is not authorized to draft or prepare legal documents unless the notary is also an attorney at law. Note that Gia and Jorge Martinez Notary Public Services does not provide legal advice, only notary services.
Many affidavits, real estate deeds, loan papers, powers of attorney, and other types of documents must be properly notarized to become legally binding. In addition, many types of letters, authorizations and documents used in international trade and travel require the acknowledgement of a notary public.
The primary purpose of notarization is the prevention of fraud. The Notary Public acts a witness to the subscription (signing) of legal documents and helps to protect the legal rights of the persons whose signature are being notarized. The Notary Public must assure the persons signing a document are who they claim to be and are signing the document willingly.
Most document notarizations have the following steps:
A subscriber (person signing the document) with the document personally appear before the notary.
The notary asks the signer(s) for government issued photo ID to verify their identity with both a physical description and signature. Examples of proper identification include state issued photo drivers license, U.S. passport, USCIS Permanent Resident Card, or a U.S. military ID card . Identification may not be required if the signer is personally known to the notary public.
The notary begins logging the names and ID information of the signer(s) in his/her official journal. The subscribers will be asked to place their signature in the journal record.
The notary checks the document for completeness. This is not a formal legal review, such as would be performed by an accountant or an attorney. Rather, it is a review to ensure that there are no blanks in the document. Should blanks be discovered, the signer must either fill them in or strike them out by drawing a line or "X" through them. This prevents others from altering or amending the document after it has been signed and notarized.
The notary asks the signer if they understand the title of the document and is signing freely and willingly.
If the document is an affidavit, the notary will take an oath or affirmation from the signer to ensure truthfulness.
The signer signs the document in the presence of the notary.
The notary signs and dates an endorsement or acknowledgement and affixes an official stamp to the document. Usually this acknowledgement or jurat section is included at the bottom of the document. Occasionally a separate form will be used and attached to the document.
The notary completes the log entry in his/her official journal detailing the document title, date, time and place of notarization.
Notarization of a single signature document usually takes about 15 minutes to perform.
A fax or photocopy may be notarized only if it bears an original signature. That is, it must have been transmitted as an unsigned document and signed with pen and ink in the presence of the notary. For the protection of the document's signers, a photocopied or faxed signature may never be notarized.
Note that some public recorders will not accept notarized signatures on faxed or photocopied pages because they often do not reproduce legibly (e.g., when microfilming, photocopying, scanning, etc.). Also, if a document has been faxed onto glossy (thermal) paper, the fax should be photocopied onto bond paper, and that copy then signed and notarized, as the printing on thermal paper often fades into illegibility.
When carbon copies are made, the notary will sometimes be asked to conform, rather than to notarize, the copies. To conform a copy, the notary must reaffix his official seal on the copy (carbon usually does not readily transfer a seal impression) and write "Conformed Copy" prominently across the copy.
Generally I only recommend using faxed documents for signing and notarization when there is a time critical need. Gia and Jorge Martinez Notary Public Services is a full service copying and shipping facility and we can also assist clients who need to receive fax or email documents for signing.
Yes. As in using fax documents, a prepared but unsigned document form may be transmitted using email or the internet. Once received the document must be printed on durable paper and then signed in the presence of the notary. Once signed and notarized, the document original must be physically delivered to the requestor or recipient. A notarized document that is scanned, faxed or copied is rarely acceptable as a legal document. Occasionally the completed notarized document will be faxed or emailed to the requestor for informational or status purposes. However, ultimately the original signed document will need to be mailed or hand delivered.
There are several file formats widely used for form and document transmittal. They include Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML and Rich Text. There are also several proprietary document formats used in the finance and legal industries. Often the requestor can provide an electronic form for the desired document that may be printed, filled out, signed and notarized. Electronic documents are almost always configured as standard full sheets (8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14, A4, etc.) and should not be resized to another format. It is important that electronic documents be printed on white bond plain paper using a quality laser printer. Inkjet printing is subject to damage from humidity and handling. The use of matrix or thermal printers, as well as color or design papers is also strongly discouraged.
Gia and Jorge Martinez Notary Public Services has a full size office with free parking located at 128 College Avenue, Santa Rosa 95401.
There we can meet for the receipt and printing of document forms in a variety of file types and page formats. Printing is performed using Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers on high quality 20-lb. laser paper. Both letter and legal size paper is available. Laser printing provides a high resolution document using black toner that is affixed to the paper with heat. The results are a permanent document that will resist fading and environmental damage.
A Certified Notary Signing Agent is a notary public who also has trained and proven himself to be an expert in loan and real estate document signings. He has passed a three part formal test designed to demonstrate his knowledge and understanding of these relatively large, complex transactions, and is especially well-prepared and qualified to serve his client's needs with a high level of knowledge and expertise.
In order to become certified as a notary signing agent, one must successfully complete a special examination administered by a credible, independent entity.
Certification is state issued documents that attest to the legal status of notaries public and selected public officials. They are often used in transactions involving international document exchange, including adoption transactions. An Apostille is provided if the transaction involves a country that subscribes to the Hague Treaty. In California the Division of Revenue handles requests for certification or apostilles. For more information, visit their website. Northern NJ Notary can assist in the process of notarizing and certifying documents for international adoption and business.
There are many types of documents that require the witnessing of a notary public to be accepted or considered legally binding. Usually when notarization is required, the document will contain a section for a notary to fill in. Examples of documents that usually require notarization are:
If you are not certain, contact the business, office or agency who issued the document for information about notary requirements.
We strictly follow the law set by the State of California who regulates pricing for all California Notary Public. It is $10 per constituent signature notarized. There is no sales tax on notary services. Other services range from $5 to $20. The travel fee for document notarization is usually a minimum of $50 in California. The travel fee is based on the distance to be traveled, date, time as well as location. Nominal fees may apply for documents faxed, emailed or delivered to our office for printing.
Call 707-568-7755 or email us for a quote or answers to any questions you might have.