What does a notary do?

What is a notary public doing when you have to get a document “notarized”?

What is a notary anyway? Can’t you just “have your signature notarized” and be done with it?

Turns out, there are very specific laws and regulations that determine what must be, and what must not be done in the course of notarial acts.

The definition of provided by the National Notary Association is:


“A Notary Public is a public servant appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths.”


What Does a Notary Public Actually DO?

A California notary public’s duties are specifically defined by the California Secretary of State. These duties include:

1) Ensuring that the document signer(s) appeared IN PERSON

2) Ensuring that the document signer(s) is/are appropriately identified

3) Administering an oath/affirmation, if required


Why Do You Need to Have a Document Notarized?

Typically notary public is required:

1) To deter fraud

2) To ensure a document is executed properly

3) To create a formal record of the notary act performed

4) To act as an impartial witness during document execution

5) To ensure that minimum standards are met for document execution

In addition to notary acts that involve documents, a notary public is also authorized to administer oaths/affirmations. Similar to taking an oath in court, the person taking an oath/affirmation may be subject to criminal perjury penalties if it is found they didn’t tell the truth.

Notary Disclaimer

The information on this site is for your general information only. It does NOT constitute legal advice; it should NOT substitute for legal advice from an attorney familiar with your specific situation. You are using this information at your own risk.

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