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  • Brent Billings

What do notaries do?

A lot of people have misconceptions about what notaries actually do. Here are some of the questions I get on a weekly basis:

“Can you notarize my document?” Notaries don't actually notarize documents, we notarize signatures on documents. The job of a notary is to verify the identity of the person signing the document, that they understand what they are signing, and that they are doing in on their own volition. I sometimes explain what we do as bartenders for signatures, because a lot of what we do is similar to what bartenders do. “My document is in a foreign language, can you notarize it?” As notaries the language of the document is unimportant. As long as the document is complete with no blank spaces we can notarize your signature on the document. Everything from the questions above also applies to this one.

“My mom has lost the ability to sign the document, are you still able to notarize it for her?” As a notary, we have procedures set in place by the state which allows us to notarize by mark instead of signature when someone lacks the ability to sign anymore. We'll need a couple more people there and it will take a little bit more time but we can make it happen.

“We need a Power of Attorney document for our father, are you able to provide this document?” Unfortunately as a notary in California we are not able to provide documents. The best we can do is recommend an internet search for what you are looking for, and to use your best judgment when printing out what you think is best. If you lack the ability to print the document you can email it to me and I can print it for you. “I have just 1 page that I need notarized, how much will it cost me?” In California the rate for notary work is $15 for each signature notarized. If a notary travels to you they can also charge you a travel fee, which varies by distance/time of travel. I charge one of the lowest travel fees in the area.

“I need a certified birth certificate/death certificate, can you help me with that?” Unfortunately no, you will need to contact the office of vital statistics in the county where the birth/death took place.

Hopefully this clears a few things up, if you still have any questions please feel free to call, text, or email and I will be more than happy to answer your questions.


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