What is a notary public?

A notary public is a person commissioned by the state to act as an official witness when legal documents are signed.  A notary public is not an attorney (unless it is their field of business) and my not provide any legal advise in relation to the documents being signed. 

What kind of ID do I need?

California law requires a notary public to obtain satisfactory evidence of all signers identity.  Satisfactory evidence includes one of the following: (1) State issued ID card; (2) CA government issued employee ID card; (3) U.S. military ID; (4) Passport.  Please note, the most frequent reason to not complete a notarization is due to expired identification. 

What if my ID has expired?

If ID cannot be made with one of the approved forms above, alternative options may apply.  If this is your situation, we can discus further. 

Acknowledgement or Jurat, which do I need?

The two most common forms of notarization are acknowledgement and jurat.  Very briefly, the difference is (1) Acknowledgement: Your signature on the document indicates that you are aware of the information in the document, and agree with the contents; (2) Jurat: Your signature on the document indicates that you attest to the accuracy of the document.  The notary public will place you under oath to obtain a jurat notarization.  A notary public cannot instruct you on the type of notarization required.  If you are in doubt, then you will need to contact the requesting party for instructions. 

My mom is in the hospital, can she still sign?

The short answer is it depends.  If the signer is not competent to sign the documents, then they cannot be notarized.  In these instances, you may want to consult with an attorney.