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
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?
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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!
(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.
To see current 2011 & 2012 California Acknowledgment wording information and California Jurat verbiage information, just visit:
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.
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Notary Journal Thumbprints
How adamant are you about taking journal thumbprints? As a California notary public, you are required to take notary journal thumbprints for deeds effecting real property and power of attorney documents. Notary thumbprint taking is a serious business and can keep you out of court.
Taking precautions as a notary
I have written other blog posts about precautions that notaries can take. Notaries can use an inkless embosser in addition to an inked seal. They can emboss every page of every document they ever notarize as a precaution against page switching which is a common crime that takes place after multi-page documents have been notarized. Taking a precaution of taking journal thumbprints is smart also, and can keep you out of court.
Suspicion of identity fraud
Let’s say that you notarized a signature on a document and that someone involved in the transaction suspects identity fraud. The first thing they will do is to track down the notary who notarized the signature on the document and start asking questions about the signer. You will not remember the signer well, unless you took notes in your journal about what they looked like, how they acted, how old they were, etc. But, if you have a thumbprint, that is absolute proof of the signer’s identity. No two thumbprints are identical, and you can’t fake a thumbprint (forge a thumbprint) in front of a notary.
The investigation ended once I produced a thumbprint
If someone questions you about a particular notarization, and you say you have a journal thumbprint, the investigation might just end right there. It happened to me as a California notary public during my first four year term. I saved myself from a potentially long visit to court. I got a phone call from someone investigating fraud. Someone had cheated some elderly people whom I had notarized. One of the documents used to allegedly cheat them had been notarized by myself in my capacity as a California notary public. Since I had a journal thumbprint, the identity of the signers was no longer in question. The person said they had no further questions the minute I told them I had a thumbprint. They didn’t even want a copy of the journal entry with the thumbprint.
Weak thumbprints with the elderly
The flaw of thumbprints are that elderly people often lose the tread on their fingers. I am talking about really old people, perhaps in their eighties or nineties. There is nothing you can do in that case, but at least you have a print, no matter how featureless it is. Personally, with signers over eighty, I recommend a retinal scan, which is not possible for a notary to take in 2011, but maybe in 2015… we can always hope.
Regardless of your state of commission
Whether you are a Florida notary public, a California notary, or notary in another state, if you are notarizing signatures on a power of attorney or real estate deeds, get a journal thumbprint whether it is required by law or not. That thumbprint could save your neck. It is not a bad idea to require signers to give thumbprints for all documents and even oaths or affirmations. It keeps them honest. The minute they start making excuses why they shouldn’t have to be thumbprinted, that is suspicious behavior, and you might want to refuse service to them.
Don’t forget to bring wet naps or wipes of some sort. It is polite to have something for the signer to wipe their hands off with. Even with the NNA’s inkless thumbprinter which is a product I always had several backups in stock of, you should offer a wipe. I strongly recommend having at least one inkless thumbprinter in your notary carry all bag!
Please visit our notary search page to see our notary public California page and notary public Florida page!
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