What is a Notary?

A notary in the United States is a public official, commissioned by their State of residence to perform a notorial service for anyone who requires it.

What kinds of services do notaries perform?

  • Acknowledgements:
    Certifying that a signer personally appeared before the notary, was identified by the notary (with proper Identification), and acknowledged signing the document.

  • Certified copies of a Power of Attorney:
    Notaries may certify that a copy of a power of attorney is identical to the original.

  • Depositions:
    Certifying that the spoken words of a witness were accurately taken down in writing.

  • Jurats:
    As found in affidavits and other sworn documents, certifying that the signer personally appeared before the Notary, signed in the Notary's presence, and took an oath or affirmation from the Notary.

  • Oaths and Affirmations:
    Solemn promises to God(oath) or solemn promises to one's own personal honor(affirmation)

  • Proofs of Execution:
    Certifying that a subscribing witness personally appeared and swore to the Notary that another person, the principle, signed the document.

  • Protests:
    Certifying that a written promise to pay, such as a bill of exchange, was not honored.

What is a Notary not authorized to do:

  • Notary's Own Signatute:
    A Notary is not authorized to notarize their own signature

  • Certified Copies:
    A certified copy is a duplicate copy of an original document that is certified as an exact reproduction. In California, a Notary is prohibited from making certified copies of anything but the Notary's own official journal or a Power of Attorney. Request for certified copies of any other documents should be directed to the agency that holds the document.

National Notary Assocation

Notary Public directory