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What is a Notary Public?

Appointed and commissioned by California’s Secretary of State, a notary public is an officer that authenticates the execution of important documents (usually legal documents). As a witness to signings of documents, taking of acknowledgements and/or affidavits and administering of oaths, a notary public must not only complete and pass a state standardized test and curriculum but is also subjected to a FBI and California Department of Justice background check.

Some of the typical documents a notary public will notarize are: Power of Attorneys, property titles, deeds, grants, healthcare directives, wills and estate plans. For certain notarizations notaries will also fingerprint the relevant parties involved in the transaction.

A common misconception about notary publics (or common-law notaries) is their ability to provide legal advice. All California Notary Public Agents are prohibited by law from giving or providing any information that can be construed as practicing law. Notaries are not attorneys and cannot give any advice on the legal document or subject matter that is present during the notarization process. The term notary public should not be confused with civil-law notaries which are attorneys that are practicing lawyers who can give legal advice. At Mobile Notary Providers, all our Orange County Notary Public agents are common-law notaries.

A notary public’s power and authority comes from the State of California. As with any public office, being a California Notary Public is a privilege and therefore must act in an impartial, unbiased and disinterested manner. The ultimate goal of the notary agent is to act as an impartial witness to the document execution.