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The primary purpose of notary services is to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of documents. Notaries must be familiar with applicable state laws and regulations to properly authenticate documents and properly witness signatures. Notaries must also maintain a high degree of professionalism and adhere to ethical principles when providing services.

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A notary public is a government appointed/state-appointed, commissioned official and public officer who serves as an impartial witness to deter fraud, related to the signing, attestation and certification of important documentation via official acts called notarizations, also known as notarial acts. This person is authorized to perform notarizations for real property deeds, grant deeds, living trusts, probate, affadavits, depositions, advanced healthcare directive, Articles of Association, certified copies, passport application documents, wills, statement of consent, powers of attorney, DMV documents, contracts, court documents, pension related documents, property titles, grants and estate plans, escrow, executorship, marital separation agreements, protests of negotiable paper and so on.

California commissioned notary publics can ONLY do notarizations within the state of California. Their commission doesn’t allow them any jurisdiction in any other state other than California. They can legally perform notarial acts in any county within California.

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A notarization is a certified authentication of any signature appended to a document.

Type of notarial acts are Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proof of Execution of Subscribing Witness, Certified Copies of Powers of Attorney, Depositions, Oaths and Affirmations.

Typically, the attachments used by notary publics are Acknowledgements, All-Purpose Acknowledgements, and Jurats.

Your lawyer/attorney should tell you before seeking the assistance of a notary public, which attachment is needed specifically for each of your legal document(s). If they do not tell you, please ask your lawyer for your clarification, which attachment is needed for your legal document(s). Sometimes lawyers are not present or necessary in the event that one needs and requires legal documentation to be notarized. Legal documents typically have an allocated place at the end of a document with a prompt for the notary public to sign. This page is to be dated, signed and stamped by the notary public. This page must provide correct notarial wording or a proper attachment page will be provided. When the words “personally appeared” are present, an acknowledgment attachment is needed. When the words “subscribed and sworn” are present, a jurat attachment is needed. The person seeking the notarization for their legal document is to let the notary public know which of these attachments is to be used for the notarization’s completion. An All-Purpose Acknowledgment may be used when uncertain of the attachment needed and/or if the specified attachment is not available.

The notarization is complete when the attachment page is signed, dated, and stamped by the notary public once the document signer’s identification or witness(es) identification has been verified and any required oaths have been completed and the journal entry has been made for each signature notarized. The signature(s) required for each journal entry must be made. In the event that notarizations must be completed for real property documents(for a deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust, or other document affecting real property or power of attorney), a right thumbprint of the signer is required in the journal entry. Some notary publics prefer to get a thumbprint of the signer each time they perform a notarization, regardless.

A jurat is a certificate added to an affadavit in which a person has sworn and affirms that the contents of his/her written statement are true and when, before whom, and where it was made. This portion of the affadavit is filled in, signed, dated and stamped by the notary public and an oath of affirmations must be performed by the principal signer for completion. The signer of the jurat must be sign and date the document in person with the notary public present and bearing witness so the notarization can be performed.

An affadavit is a sworn statement a person makes before a notary or officer of the court outside of the court asserting that certain facts are true to the best of that person’s knowledge.

An acknowledgment is a sworn statement that a signer of a document is who they say they are, that they understand the contents of the document they are signing, and choose to do so of their own free will. The document to be acknowledged and notarized may be dated and signed by the signer prior to meeting with the notary public for the actual notarization of it, unlike in the event that a jurat must dated and signed in witness of the notary public before the notarization is completed.
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