Important Terms

Glossary To Get to know More.

California Notary: An impartial third party, appointed by the state. A California notary is responsible for verifying the identity of a signer, administering an oath or affirmation to the truthfulness of the contents of a document, and ensuring that the signer is doing so knowingly and willfully.

General Notarization: General Notarization: A general notarization is a term used to describe notarization of documents other than home loans and living trusts. If the document you need notarized is not a loan or living trust, then it is most likely a general notarization.

Loan Documents: Loan document packages include important documents such as a deed, note, settlement statement, escrow documents, etc. Loan documents are typically more than 100 pages in length and require a notary with special training, called a notary signing agent. The notary signing agent is typically hired and paid through an escrow or title company, but occasionally the borrower may call and arrange the signing directly with the notary. The notary signing agent coordinates with the signers and arranges a time to meet at their home, or another convenient location. A mobile notary is often used for these types of transaction as it is more convenient for the signer to meet at their home, office or another location.

Notary Certificate: The piece of paper stamped and signed by the notary. The most common certificates are the jurat and acknowledgment. California has the strictest notary laws of any state and there are special rules for notarized documents that will be filed within the State of California. One advantage to hiring a professional notary public is that they are familiar with these specific and sometimes complicated laws and restrictions. For instance, a California Notary Public is not allowed to notarize a document which lists the signers capacity or title within the notary certificate. There is also special language that must appear on each California certificate and a notice placed inside a box above the venue, indicating that the notary only verifies the identity of the signer and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.

Jurat: By completing a jurat, a notary verifies that the signer personally appeared before them, was administered an oath or affirmation by the notary attesting to the truthfulness of the document, and signed the document in front of the notary. Unlike an acknowledgment, a Jurat signed in the State of California must be a California Jurat and the document being notarized must be signed in front of the notary. Many notaries will skip the oath or affirmation step of the Jurat certificate which could invalidate the notarial act. This is another reason that choosing a professional notary public is so important.

Acknowledgement: By completing an acknowledgment, the notary has identified the signer and verified they have signed the document knowingly and willingly. Unlike with a jurat, the acknowledged document does not need to be signed in front of the notary and does not require an oath or affirmation. Additionally, unlike a jurat, an acknowledgment certificate which is signed in California, but being filed in another state, does not need to contain the California Acknowledgment language or the notice contained within a box above the venue. If the document to which the acknowledgment is attached will be filed in California, then it must be a California acknowledgment. Regardless of where the document will be filed, the signer must still appear before the notary to verify their identity and acknowledge that they signed the document.

Unauthorized Practice Of Law: A notary cannot give legal advice or prepare documents because these acts are considered the practice of law. A California notary public is not authorized to practice law. If a client asks the notary which form they need or details about the documents that need to be signed, the notary may not answer these questions due to this rule. Asking a notary these types of questions puts the notary in a position of liability, so the best answer is always “I’m sorry I cannot answer that questions as it is considered the unauthorized practice of law.” This is not meant to be rude, but rather to protect the notary public from liability and to comply with the laws set forth by the California Secretary of State. Since the notary is not an attorney, it is also in the best interest of the document signer to not answer such questions.

Durable Powers Of Attorney: A durable powers of attorney includes language in the document that extends the duration of your agent’s authority in the event you are mentally incompetent at the time it expires. The powers of attorney remains legally enforceable until you regain mental competence. In general, a non-durable power of attorney automatically ends when you are considered incompetent. As a mobile notary, I’m often called to hospitals, extended care and other medical facilities to notarize these documents if a family member or loved one is sick or undergoing a procedure.

Grant Deed: A deed that includes some warranty of title and may include some exceptions. This deed conveys both title and some warranty of title from the grantor to the grantee. If signing loan documents, a grant deed will be included.

Trust Deed: A deed that conveys real property from a grantor to a grantee but also includes a third party such as a lender. The third party holds a lien on the property until the note is paid off.

Quitclaim Deed: A simplified deed that does not contain a warranty of title. This deed only conveys the interests of the real property from the grantor to the grantee.

Sworn Statement: Oral or written assertion of fact stated under oath, such as an affidavit.

Parental Consent To Travel: A notarized document giving permission for a minor to travel under the care of someone other than a legal guardian.

DMV Application For Duplicate Title: A notarized document used to request a copy of a vehicle title from the DMV. This is used when a the owner of the vehicle cannot find the original title.

Release And Waiver: A release and waiver gives up a right, such as releasing one from liability for harm or damage that may occur from performing under a contract, or participating in an activity.

Demand Letter: A demand letter is a formal notice demanding an individual perform an alleged legal obligation such as rectifying some identified problem, paying a sum of money or acting on a contractual commitment. Most demand letters will include a deadline for action.