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November 4, 2013

How much can a California Notary Public Charge?

Notary Public California: What does a California Notary Cost?

Looking for notary service in California? The price for notary work in California is based on state government set maximum notary fees. The exact fee might depend on the particular act. Please remember that a California Notary Public charges you for each notarized signature. If you have one document where you are being notarized twice, then you pay two notary fees. Additionally, many California Notaries are in the mobile notary business and might offer you the convenience of coming to your office, hospital, home, or jail cell for an additional travel fee on top of the California notary fees.

You can visit
http://www.123notary.com/california_notary/
For detailed information about California Notary Fees as well as California Notary Public search functions.

CA Notary — maximum notary fees
Acknowledgments – $10
Oath or Affirmation for a Jurat – $10
Certified copy of a Power of Attorney – $10
Proof of Execution – $10
Administering an Oath for a Witness – $5
Taking a Deposition – $20
Protest – $10, plus $5 for recording it
Apostilles & Authentications – $20

Please note that a notary is not required to charge the maximum allowed notary fees. They are welcome to notarize your signature for free, or for a nominal fee if they like. Find a great California mobile notary on 123notary.com!

(1) A California Notary can charge $10 per signature for Acknowledgments & Jurats. But, what about other acts?

You might also like:

Find a California Notary in Fresno
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&n=Fresno&county=127

Find a California Notary Public in Riverside
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&n=Riverside&sub=34

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August 29, 2013

Don’t Do These Things: CA Notaries Who Have Done Wrong

Becoming a notary in California means taking on an awesome responsibility. And, like most awesome responsibilities, this one comes with lots of very strict rules that must be followed exactly. No, really — exactly. There is no wiggle room when it comes to being a notary public in California.

You would think that, with all of that responsibility and all of those extremely strict rules, every California notary would be very closely supervised. Nope! In fact, it is largely the opposite.

As a California notary public, you work almost completely independently of any state-sanctioned watcher type person. It’s understandable, given all that freedom, how someone who is a notary in California might be tempted to let some of the rules slide. Without someone watching your every move, it’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll take care of that later,” or “Meh, good enough.”

Do not give in to this temptation! If you don’t see to every single detail and follow every letter of the law, you could wind up in huge and terrifying trouble.

For instance:

If you fail to properly identify one of the signers of the contract you are notarizing, you could face a civil conviction and have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. That is not a cumulative $10,000 over the course of your California notary career. That’s up to $10,000 for every time in which you, acting as a notary public in California, fail to identify a signatory to the satisfaction of the rules set forth by the Secretary of State. Yikes!

Let’s say that someone comes in and says they are working on an Intelius removal and need you to notarize some papers verifying the request to have the information removed from the system. The person wants the notary stamp to prove the time and date on which that person submitted their completed forms.

Your California notary public stamp tells a court (should the matter go that far) that you are vouching for the person, that he or she has met every legal requirement he or she needed to meet, and that they performed the deeds they say they did.

Let’s say you had to notarize three signed forms. You charge the person $45 for the service.

Whoops!

It turns out that, as a notary in California, you’re only allowed to charge people up to $10 per signature. You have overcharged the person by $15. Fifteen dollars doesn’t seem like that big a deal, right? You can just refund the over-payment, right?

Maybe. But if the person complains or brings suit against you for overcharging them for the duties you performed as a notary public in California, you’re going to be in trouble. The Secretary of State can suspend your California notary public commission for as long as six months, and you can be fined up to $750 — for every instance in which you overcharged that person!

Becoming a California notary is a huge responsibility, and these fines are steep and really scary. This is why, as part of the process of becoming a notary in California, you have to pay for “insurance.” This usually means paying for a California Notary Public Surety Bond. You can buy these bonds in a variety of increments. It depends on how much coverage you need. If you are sure that you can abide by every detail and follow every law involved with having your own California notary commission, you can go with a smaller bond.

The fact is that being a notary public in California makes you a very important person, and that means you have to take your important responsibilities seriously. Besides, can you really afford to have a criminal record and fines totaling thousands of dollars because you overcharged someone by a few bucks? It’s better to follow all of those annoying rules, don’t you think?

Erin Steiner was an Oregon notary public for one term. She now writes about everything from small business to pop culture topics all over the web.

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August 26, 2013

California Notaries Who Get Themselves in Trouble

In 1999, a California notary public was fined $750 and had to perform 200 hours of community service after being caught and pleading guilty to forging a notary stamp and using it in a public office within the state of California (and then lying about). SOURCE: http://www.lastwordedits.com/unlawfulnotary.pdf

Since then, the instances of notaries public in California have gone way, way down. So down, in fact, that a Lexis Nexis search turned up only two cases in which a California notary had suits brought against him. In one of those cases, the judge found that the California notary public had done nothing wrong. In the other, the judge ruled that the statute of limitations (six years at that point) on filing a complaint had expired.

Why?

Because the laws and penalties for breaking them are so strict that there is no way any notary public in California is going to break them.

For example, a notary in California has to keep her seal under very strict and exclusive control. If she fails to do so, while it has to be proven that she “willfully” disregarded this rule, she is guilty of committing a misdemeanor crime. The Secretary of State (who is the boss of every notary public in California) can also suspend her commission.

It gets worse if she lets people use her seal to perform notary duties under their own name and even worse if they perform them under her name. In addition to having her commission revoked, she can be fined up to $1500 — for every instance (and every individual notarization that someone else performed).

It is also a misdemeanor for a notary public in California to fail to properly maintain his journal. There are very strict rules about which details a California notary must include in his journal. Every single one of those details must be recorded for every notarization performed.

If the California notary public misses even one of those details one time, he has committed a crime. There is a statute of limitations on this rule. After four years, a mistake in the journal can’t be prosecuted. Still, do you want to be prosecuted three years and 364 days later for misspelling a person’s name or leaving out a date on something?

These are just two (of many) instances in which a notary in California can quickly build up a criminal record. It’s important that, should you want to go after your California notary commission, you’re prepared to follow every rule down to the tiniest detail.

Remember, on the surface, being a notary public in California looks more like fun than something responsible, but it is a duty that is incredibly important. When you become a California notary public, you are becoming an officer of the court — and that comes with incredibly high standards to meet.

Erin Steiner is a writer who writes about business, legal, pop culture, and general topics (like waterhog mats) She served as a notary public of

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August 17, 2013

Notary Fines & Notary Penalties (gulp)

People going into the notary business should be aware that there is such a thing as Notary Fines, and Notary Penalties are real! I used to be a California Notary Public and read the California Notary Handbook multiple times. There are all types of penalties that could be imposed on a sloppy notary. I could go one by one and list all of the fines and penalties in the handbook, or just write about some more common types of mistakes that notaries make that could end up in a Notary fine. Please remember, that the types of infractions of notary law we are indicating below may or may not end up in a fine in your particular state. However, to be on the safe side, we encourage you to avoid any type of legal infraction whatsoever so you stay out of trouble.

If you move…
If you change your physical address, and don’t notify your state notary division within 30 days, or however many days your state allows (which is often 30 days), you might end up in a little bit of trouble. You might get fined for this type of neglegence. The Secretary of State or Notary Division in your state wants to know where you are living — that is important to them!

If you change your name…
If you change your legal name, you are required to inform your Notary Division in writing in many states. You might be required to get new notary commission, or just get a new notary seal that reflects your new name. A California notary for instance is required to notify the notary division immediately after a name change!

If you overcharge…
If you charge more than your state’s maximum published rates for a notary act, you could get fined for overcharging. It is doubtful that you would get caught, but to be on the safe side, don’t charge more than the amount your state allows for notary acts. You may charge for travel fee in 41 states, but you need to know what the rules are for travel fees too as there are restrictions in a few states. If you are a California Notary there is no limit to what you can charge as a travel fee.

If you put a wrong date on a notary certificate
If you intentionally put a false date on a notary certificate, you might get a lot more than just a simple notary fine or notary penalty. You might be criminally liable, especially if the notary certificate is on a Deed effecting real property. Don’t backdate! It is illegal and can come back to you!

Application misstatement
A California Notary Public could have their notary commission suspended, revoked, or terminated if they made a misstatement in their application. Tell the truth, or you could get in trouble.

We might write some more blog entries in the future about notary fines and notary penalties. But, for now, we just wanted to refresh your memory to the fact that these types of fines do exist, and let you know about a few specific types of cases where you could be fined.

Have a fine day!

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June 17, 2013

California Notary laws that you need to know

CA Notary Laws that You Need to Know

There are lots of reasons to want to become a California notary. The fact that it is a resume booster is just one of them.

Notary Public California: Basics

By now you know just how easy it is to become a California notary public. Because the process (though lengthy) is so easy, a lot of notary hopefuls believe that the job itself is going to be easy. For the most part this is actually true…provided, of course, that you follow the letter of the law. The laws surrounding California notaries are strict, and it is important that you know them inside and out.

California Notary Laws

Here are just some of the laws that you need to follow when you are a notary in California.

Proper Identification Required

It used to be that if you personally knew the person whose documents you were notarizing, that person wouldn’t have to present any ID. That law is gone. Now—even if you’ve known them since preschool, they have to show you ID.

Your Journal Is Important

You know that journal the Secretary of State says you have to keep? You really have to keep it. It must be perfectly updated, and you really do have to know where it is at all times. More importantly, you have to know that it is safe at all times.

If you fail to keep the journal updated, secured, and protected, you could get charged with a misdemeanor!

NOTE: The same rules apply to your seal!

To this end, if anything happens to your journal or notary seal — if you lose them or they get stolen or damaged, you need to notify the Secretary of State immediately. Do not simply hope that it will turn up! You don’t want your seal to be used on fraudulent actions without your knowledge and without the Secretary of State knowing that it was not actually you who performed those actions!

To Thumbprint or Not to Thumbprint

As of January 1st, the state requires every notary in California to get a journal thumbprint for any notarizing involving “real property.” What does that mean? There is a partial list of what constitutes “real property” in the California Notary Law Primer.

Webcams Are a No-No

Notarizing something via webcam is not the same thing as being there in person. This means if someone wants you to perform a notarial action through a webcam, you could get in big trouble if you say yes!

Double-Check the Wording

There are some situations (like jurats) in which the wording in the document must exactly match the wording required by the Secretary of State. Make sure you know which situations require exact wording and which will let a “close enough” slide through.

Every year, the Secretary of State makes changes and tweaks to the laws for what California notaries can do, can’t do, and how they are required to do things. It’s okay to have questions and to feel unsure. When you aren’t sure what you can or can’t do, ask!

The 2013 Notary Public Handbook is available for free online. If you don’t find what you need there, contact someone in the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento and ask.

Erin Steiner writes full time in Portland, Oregon, and has covered a wide range of topics from gutters to personal finance.

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August 11, 2012

Notarizing a Voice?

Notarizing a voice 

A Notary in California was called to an insane asylum to perform a notary act for a patient.  The notary was to show up at 11am and meet Dr. Crane.  So, the California mobile notary public showed up on time as expected and met with the Doctor. The Doctor escorted the notary to the room with the patient whose name was Patrick.
 
Patrick said that in order for him to be released from the hospital he needed a notarized document from someone authoritative who could verify that he wasn’t insane.  Patrick said, that the only one he knew who would be willing to vouch for him was the voice.  Patrick asked the notary if he could notarize the voice.
 
The California notary said, “Sorry, but I can’t notarize a voice”.  Then Patrick said, “Please, this is my only chance, please help me”.  The notary told Patrick again that notaries don’t notarize voices.  Then, the Doctor asked if there was anything the notary could do.  At this point, the notary became very perplexed, but noticed that the doctor kept winking when Patrick wasn’t looking. The notary caught on, that the Doctor was just playing along so that his patient would think he was on their side and legitimately trying to help.  The notary said, for the third time, that he couldn’t notarize a voice.
 
Finally, the Doctor asked, “Why can’t you notarize a voice?”.  At this point, the California notary public explained —
“Because the voice doesn’t have an identification card!!!!”

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June 3, 2012

A New California Notary Law

A New California Notary Law

A new law regarding California notaries went into effect on January 1, 2012. One of three main changes to California notary law in 2012 is that a subscribing witness may not sign a Power of Attorney in California in a case where a signer is too frail or unwell to appear before a notary. In other words, it is now clearly mandated that a person giving someone else Power of Attorney in California must be well enough to appear personally before a California notary. There are situations in which an actual signer can’t appear before the notary and a subscribing witness may be used, but this is not as strong as having a California notary take an acknowledgement, and ought not to be allowed in most situations. In matters involving finance and property, California previously made clear that important documents such as mortgages and securities may not be signed by a subscribing witness; instead, the acknowledgment must be taken by the notary with the proper signer present. In 2012, California has now wisely added POA to the list of documents that may not be signed by a subscribing witness.

The second of the changes to California notary law in 2012 setsforth the rule that only California notaries who work for the financial institution concerned may demand payment or accept payment on “foreign bills of exchange” for the institution –and only these California notaries may protest for nonpayment. The third change in the law makes clear that these notaries who work for financial institutions will of course no longer be paid a fee for such services—as an independent notary would have been. The world of banking has its own notaries for all occasions, California notary law reminds us.

Tweets:
(1) A new 2012 California notary law – subscribing witnesses may no longer sign Power of Attorney in certain cases.
(2) Important documents such as Mortgages & Securities may not be signed by subscribing witnesses.

You might also like:

California notary issues
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3528

California Acknowledgment and Jurat Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1786

Power of Attorney Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1627

Find a notary in Fremont, CA
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&super=&county=162&sub=3&n=Fremont%20City&cc=1&

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May 8, 2012

California notaries with complaints

Notary Public California – complaints against local notaries 

It is easy to hire a notary public in California that you found online. But, how do you know they are reputable, or any good?  You don’t.  You take your chances. However, some notaries on 123notary.com have reviews about them.  You can read who has good reviews or bad reviews.  It is not always safe picking a random notary. As far as horror cases go, we have only had a handful of serious nightmarish notaries over the last decade, and we remove them once we have determined that they are a source of endless trouble!
 
The Kinko’s story
We had a California notary public fail to print out documents and have the borrower’s pick her up, drive her to Kinko’s where she could print the documents and then driver her to their home.  Borrowers are not chauffers, and this notary got dropped off once the borrowers got a hold of the lender.  A year later — the drama continues.  The California notary public in question is operating under a business name, and hiring other notaries to do tasks for her such as obtaining apostilles in Sacramento.  The problem is, that when checks come, they all have an elastic characteristic.  Notaries have complained on the forum about this company several times, and this particular California notary is one of the worst notary nightmares we have ever experienced and goes down in history as a legend.
 
Stories of notaries that fail and what they did wrong – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=143
 
Affordable Notary Service – http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4880
 
24 hour service?
Another California notary public advertised 24 hour service.  An individual calls them at 6am with an emergency.  The notary hangs up on the individual claiming that it is “too early”.  If you are not offering 24 hour service, don’t CLAIM that you do.  It is a requirement that if you want the 24 hour icon, you have to be willing to answer the phone after midnight whether you feel like it or not.
 
The white out story
A notary in California goes to a signing. She forgets to have the wife sign the Mortgage (oops), and then uses white out to change some information in the loan documents.  The worst possible thing you can do during a loan signing is to use white out which voids the usability of the document.  It gets better — then, the notary blames the Title company for not hilighting the signature areas in the documents where the wife was supposed to sign.  When she was requested to return to the borrower’s house to finish the incomplete signing, the notary recommended that they find someone else.  The notary replied to this complaint against her by stating that she used the mother-in-law as a required witness to the signing. Then, the Title company asked her to use someone else at which point she used white out to remove the mother-in-law’s signature and go and get a neighbor. 
 
123notary’s opinion: There is no crime in having an additional witness.  The problem is using white out, and cross outs also look unprofessional in a loan signing and can cause a loan not to fund. Additionally, a witness should be a party who doesn’t have a beneficial interest in the transaction — they should be uninvolved like a neighbor or stranger.
 
The four hour rule
Another California notary accepts a job for a signing.  Then she cancels at the last minute because she learns that the company who hired her doesn’t pay their bills.  There were a few forum posts about the company stating that the company didn’t pay their notaries.  In any case, the notary could have researched the company simultaneously while talking to them by using www.123notary.com/s and would have learned that they didn’t pay BEFORE accepting a job from them. Or, the notary could have researched them soon after the phone call and then cancelled.  The last minute cancellations cause a lot of grief to many parties and are not acceptable. The Lender emails me stating that the notary cancelled 2 hours after the signing and said that she was, “not able to help”.  Then, the notary replies to me stating that she EMAILED the borrower 45 minutes before the signing (that is considerably sooner than 2 hours after like the lender stated).  The notary claimed they called the borrowers but couldn’t get an answer or a voice mail. I’m not sure I believe all of this story, do you?  How many people do you know who don’t have an answering machine or a disfunctional one?  I think that the notary should have given four hours notice in a case like this and should have kept trying the borrowers every 30 minutes until she got them. You can’t just leave people high and dry!

Tweets:
(1) A notary had the borrowers pick her up, take her to Kinkos where she printed the docs & made them pay for it!
(2) 1 Notary claimed 24 hour service & hung up on a client who called at 6am saying it was “too early”
(3) The Notary forgot that the wife had to sign & then used white out to modify the documents!
(4) A Notary accepted a job, then cancelled right before the signing when she learned the signing co. had a bad payment record.

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December 17, 2011

Penalties for notary misdeeds & misconduct!

Penalties for notary misconduct, crimes, and misdeeds 

I very rarely hear about notaries engaging in any type of illegal activity or illegal notarizations. The normal problem with notaries is lack of skill, neglegence, or bad tempers in a few cases.  I have only heard of one notary that engaged in a serious crime, and he went to jail.  This blog entry will discuss various types of notary misconduct and types of penalties for this misconduct in California. Please keep in mind that the notary rules are different in each of the 50 states, and that notary rules are also always changing.  However, if something is illegal in one state, there is a high chance that it will also be illegal in your state — although the penalties might be different. The information here is time sensitive and could change at any time. These are listed in the order of which I feel they are important to mobile notaries.
 
Asking a notary to do an improper notarization.
This is a misdemeanor.  If it involves real property, then it is much more serious.  Clients might ask you to notarize them using a different name variation that is not documented, or put a false date.  This is illegal. They are guilty for asking you to do this, and you will be guilty if you give in to their pressure. If you have driven thirty minutes to a job, you have a beneficial interest in notarizing their document unless you have gotten your travel fee up front when you walk in the door.  So, legally, you MUST get your travel fee BEFORE you see the document, or are informed who the signers are, or see their ID, because a conflict of interest can easily happen.  If someone asks you to do something illegal, you can threaten to report them to the Secretary of State’s office. This is a serious crime and you should treat it as such.
 
Issuing a false certificate
A notary who issues false certificates, and this could include backdated certificates would be guilty of a misdemeanor.  A false Acknowledgment certificate constitutes FORGERY.   Additionaly, the notary could have their commission revoked if found guilty of this crime, with an additional fine of $1500 per incident.
 
Failure to Identify a Credible Witness
A fine of $10,000 per incident could occur if a notary fails to check a credible witness’s identification documents and see that they have acceptable identification.
 
Failure to get a thumbprint!!!
This is my favorite.  Thumbprints are critical for identifying a signer if fraud is suspected.  Powers of Attorney and Deeds require a journal thumbprint in California.  A fine of up to $2500 per incident would be the penalty.
 
Failure to administer an Oath
A fine of $750 per incident could be incurred, not to mention revocation, or suspention of a notary commission, or refusal to grant a commission.
 
Felony Convictions
If you have a felony conviction or have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, you will most likely not be allowed to get a notary commission in the first place.  If you already had a notary commission, it would be suspended or revoked the minute your state’s ntoary division finds out about it!
 
Professional Misconduct
This refers to dishonesty in your professional activities.  The penalty would once again be suspension, revocation, or refusal to grant a notary commission.
 
Failure of Duty
This means that you refuse to serve a member of the public who has a legitimate request for a notarization.  However, if the signer doesn’t have proper identification, or doesn’t have a properly filled out document, or seems very questionable, you have the right to refuse service to such a client.  The penalty would be refusal to grant a notary commission, suspension, or revocation of a notary commission. Additionally a fine of $750 could be imposed on the California notary public.
 
Falsely Acting as a Notary
This is a misdemeanor
 
Making false statements to a notary
Anyone who induces a notary to make an improper notarization with regards to real property can be found guilty of a FELONY.  This is the most serious type of fraud possible in the notary profession.
 
False or misleading notary advertising
Making false statements in notary advertising is illegal, and the penalty for California notaries is $1500 per incident.  Additionally, such a notary’s commission could be suspended, revoked, or there could be a refusal to issue a commission.  Claiming to be an immigration expert, or be able to give legal advice could be a serious example of false advertising. 
 
Selling personal information
If the notary sells or misuses personal information of those he/she has notarized, that is illegal as well.  Remember to keep your journals locked up, so that nobody can have access to that information. When making copies of journal entries, make sure that the neighboring journal entries are covered, so that their information is not shared with the public.  Once again, your application could be denied, or your commission could be suspended or revoked for such a crime.
 
Misstatements on a notary application (Application misstatement)
Your notary commission could be suspended, revoked, or refused if you are guilty of this misconduct
 
Here are some other crimes… I will just list them here, but may or may  not describe the penalties.
 
Failure to deliver a journal to the county clerk at the end of your commission. – misdemeanor
Failure to safeguard seal and journal – revoke/suspend/refuse
Failure to report a lost or damaged seal – $1500 fine
Nonpayment of judgement / Refusal to pay child support – refusal to issue a commission
Failure to keep a journal – such notaries will be prosecuted
 
There are a few others laws that I am not going to mention, but these were the interesting ones…

You might also like:

9/11 Notary Law Changes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=212

All you need to know about notary work
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2354

How to complain about a notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2179

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November 23, 2011

California Acknowledgment and Jurat Information

To see current 2011 & 2012 California Acknowledgment wording  information and California Jurat verbiage  information, just visit:
http://www.123notary.com/California/acknowledgment_jurat.asp

California Acknowledgments & California Jurats

Notary laws are often based on antiquated social customs and laws.  Many notary laws in Louisiana are based on the old Spanish and French laws which make it extremely different from the rest of the United States.  Louisiana is sort of a foreign country controlled by our government.  The language is English, but the laws are not.  California notary law used to have some old rules too for identifying a signer
 
In olden times, people lived in smaller communities, traveled less, and had less access to the outside world.  In those days you knew your neighbors and knew them well.  California notary laws and laws in many states allowed a notary to use personal knowledge of an individual as a way to identify them for a notarization.  But, in 2011 with people flying all around, and nobody really knowing anyone, you can not really use personal knowledge as an identifying technique anymore.  People don’t even know their wives and children that well these days! After 9/11, the laws changed in many states.  It took a few years for the state governments to react, but standards for identification were raised.  You can still identify signers using credible witnesses which I feel is false identification. The credible witnesses don’t really usually know the signer that well, and have to be reminded of the signer’s name in many cases.  The most common form of identification is a driver’s license, state ID card, or password. 
 
In any case, California notary laws for identifying a signer for an acknowledged signature are tougher now that personal knowledge is not allowed.  But, signers also need to be identified for Jurats which never used to be the case.  In the last few years, the California notary wording or California notary Verbiage for Acknowledgment and Jurat forms has changed a little bit as well.
 
Oaths and Affirmations in California have now become a merged act.  You just choose whether you want it to be an affirmation or oath in the paperwork. 
 
 
You might also like: 

Notary Acknowledgment Information
 
Can a California notary be a witness?

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