43 Years of
Professional Experience
2975 Huntington Drive
Suite 201 San Marino, CA 91108
Call Us Today626-792-5955
*must dial 1 plus 626 area code

Notary Services

Notary Services

Pasadena Notary Services Lawyer

Pasadena Notary Services Lawyer

When you are looking to obtain services from a Pasadena notary public, you may not immediately think to call your lawyer. However, you need a qualified legal expert when you’re working with critical legal documents that can impact your family, career, property, or finances. In addition to decades of successful experience representing the people of Pasadena in courtrooms and at negotiation tables, the firm of Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law, offers a full range of notary public services.

Any notary can sign and stamp a document for a fee. However, only an experienced attorney has the background and expertise to limit your liability and risk. Their expertise can ensure that everything is legal and in proper order before any notarization takes place. When you turn to a trusted and well-trained attorney to have your important documents notarized, you are not merely purchasing notary services — you are also getting peace of mind that your documents are filled out in accordance with the law.

Notary Public Services for Pasadena

We offer a full range of notary public services for the people of Pasadena and the surrounding areas, including:

  • Acknowledgments. One of the most basic notary duties is the acknowledgments. The notary confirms the identity of the document signer and confirms the signing is taking place willingly and without coercion. The notary must obtain acknowledgment from the signer that they are who they say they are and have signed the document voluntarily.
  • Affidavits. For a sworn written statement or affidavit to be admissible in a court of law, it must be notarized.
  • Jurat. A jurat goes hand in hand with an affidavit. Jurats are signed and notarized as a testament that the contents of a document are true.
  • Powers of attorney. The importance of notarization on a power of attorney document is evident when considering why someone may seek to present power of attorney fraudulently. A valid power of attorney in California must either be notarized at the time the principal signs it, or else the signature must be witnessed by two parties unrelated to the principal.
  • Wills and other estate planning documents. Notarized wills are not required in California, but they can speed up the process of executing the will and eliminate the need for witnesses
  • Notarized statements. Like acknowledgments, the role of the notary is to note the legal identity of the person producing the statement.
  • Contracts. Notarization is not a requirement for most contracts in California to be binding, but the extra layer of authenticity may be desired depending on the nature of the deal being cemented.
  • Real estate documents. Real estate transactions are subject to numerous articles of paperwork requiring notarization. They are often also some of the most important documents you will want legal advice for as well, especially if the property has significant value and is being financed for purchase.
  • Various other legal instruments and official filings that need to be notarized. We can notarize other items as necessary as well.

Notary Services Attorney in San Marino, California

Requirement for a Notary Public

Be cautious when considering a notary because a legal background is not a requirement. Anyone meeting a few simple requirements is eligible to become a notary public in California. That includes law students, practicing lawyers, and retired legal professionals, but it can also mean public librarians and shipping agents.

The requirements to become a notary include:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (with no maximum age limit)
  • Be a legal resident of California
  • Successfully clear a background check and submit fingerprints and identifying information through the California Department of Justice’s LiveScan system
  • Complete an approved six-hour education course
  • Register for and pass a written examination
  • Receive a commission packet in the mail after successful completion of exam
  • Purchase approved notary public materials (stamp, seal, and journal)
  • Take a notary public oath
  • Acquire the necessary bond

Additionally, becoming a notary costs money. Once someone has paid for a qualified training program, all license fees, and their stamp and journal, the costs come close to $500.

While just about anyone can become a notary public, there is a special benefit to getting your notary services through a highly experienced and well-trained legal professional, such as Janna Wilson, Legal Assistant. A legal expert as a notary means you are getting more than a stamp but an attorney who understands the impact of what you might be signing.

Can a Lawyer Do Notary Service Work?

A lawyer can become a legally registered notary in California, just like anyone else. Not only that but there is arguably no one better to have on your side reviewing and approving your important documents than a combination lawyer and notary or notary attorney.

The Secretary of State’s notary licensing process is meaningful and usually does an adequate job of weeding out candidates who are unfit to serve as notaries. The training necessary to be approved by the Secretary of State’s office to serve as a California notary public consists of a six-hour course when you first get your license. A three-hour refresher course must then be periodically undertaken for a notary public to keep their license active. The system goes to significant lengths to ensure that notaries are competent and well-informed.

However, this six-hour training cannot, in any way, compare to the rigors of the California Bar Exam that one must pass to be a lawyer. While becoming a notary also requires some study, as well as adherence to an ethical standard similar to that of an attorney, the relatively quick process of training and licensing a notary public pales in comparison to the years of study and evaluation that go into becoming a practicing lawyer in California.

Turning to a qualified, licensed attorney for all of your notary public needs means that someone with a thorough understanding of the legal system is looking over your documents before they’re finalized and filed. Retaining the services of a notary attorney can help to protect you against liability by ensuring your documents are legally binding and correctly filed.

Can an Attorney Notarize a Document in California?

There is no law or regulation that prevents attorneys from serving as notaries in California, and notarizing documents is one of the core functions of any notary.

To notarize a document, a lawyer must go through the process of being evaluated, approved, and licensed as a notary, just like any layperson with no legal background. This process is handled by the California Secretary of State.

How Much Does a California Notary Charge?

California sets a maximum allowable charge for the most commonly performed notary services. This schedule of maximum fees means you are never surprised by a notary public’s price tag when you’re going for routine notarization services. The maximum charges established in California Government Code sections 8211 and 8223, and most recently amended by Assembly Bill 2217, are as follows:

  • Acknowledgments – $15
  • Jurat (this is a special clause in an affidavit affirming when and where an oath was sworn) – $15
  • Certified copies – $15
  • Any notary services related to a deposition – $30
  • Certificate of deposition (an exception to the above item) – $7
  • Administering oaths to witnesses – $7
  • Preparing immigration forms as an immigration consultant – $15
  • Notarization of immigration forms – $15

The schedule of fees above is only valid for simple, easily defined notary work. If your situation also requires legal advice, you must pay your notary attorney an additional fee for those services. For example, if you attempt to have something notarized and your notary attorney finds some issue with the paperwork, you may be able to pay them an additional fee to correct the paperwork before proceeding.

Like any other sort of legal services, the exact cost of retaining a notary attorney in California to help with a more complex legal situation can vary. The final cost for legal help is going to be based on a number of different factors, such as:

  • The size and scope of legal services requested
  • Any extenuating complexities that require prolonged assistance
  • The quality and experience level of the notary attorney you hire
  • The particular circumstances of your case
  • The geographic area in which you’re hiring a lawyer
  • The amount of in-courtroom time your case will require

What Are the Qualities of a Good Notary?

Some of the qualities of a good notary include:

  • Willingness to lead. A good notary should have reviewed the documents they are notarizing and be familiar with their contents. They should be able to explain what they say. Remember, however, that a notary who is not an attorney cannot provide you with legal advice. Still, it’s valuable for a notary to be able to take charge of a situation and answer the question “what am I signing?”
  • Professionalism. Making a good first impression is a good way to garner repeat business. First impressions matter, and whether the notary is an attorney or not shouldn’t impact their efforts to make a good one. Hygiene and clothing are important for a professional appearance. Punctuality for appointments is another desirable trait.
  • Attention to detail. Remember that the notary doesn’t just need to be organized and attentive before a document is signed. Notary services often require keeping documents in order and faxing or delivering them in an official capacity, especially for legal matters like real estate contracts.
  • Hunger to learn. A good notary must know when they are qualified to give advice and also have the training and discernment to know when they are not qualified. Good notaries are constantly learning, and the same is true of good attorneys. Make sure to find someone who is always eager to expand their knowledge.
  • Be calm in troubled waters. Serving as a notary sometimes means having to be around tense legal reviews. In situations like that, tempers may flare. Hire a notary who is unflappable even when you or another party may be experiencing strong emotions.
  • Strong communication skills. The best notaries can talk with someone, not just at them. Never work with a notary who is a poor listener or can’t explain their understanding of the role they are playing.
  • Honesty. A notary who shies away from admitting mistakes or has questionable ethics will eventually cause great harm to a client through unethical behavior or negligence. Honesty should always be one of the first things you are comfortable with when assessing a notary.
  • Empathy. Some people seek a notary regularly while others seldom have to deal with such formal measures. It’s good to have a notary understand the circumstances of how the client came to be seeking their services and bring humanity to the proceedings.

Why Do Certain Documents Require Notarization in California?

Having documents notarized may seem like an inconvenience, but a notary public’s seal plays an important role in many transactions. Notaries and attorneys both have roles that can’t be replaced by technology. Even elaborate cybersecurity measures can be fooled, and legal advice is rarely one size fits all. A human touch remains important for notary services.

One of the most basic objections one can make when levying accusations of fraud to terminate a contract is that the deal was not legally executed. Infamous instances exist throughout history of dubious claims that a signature has been forged or doctored. A notary public placing their seal and signature on a document before the dispute occurs can head it off. The notary is attesting the signatures were placed by the responsible parties.

The same is true for written legal testimony. A notary provides one of the first safeguards against a defendant or witness claiming their statement has been taken out of context or was improperly obtained.

Criminal testimony, civil evidence, real estate contracts, and many other matters gain their validity from the neutral authentication provided by the notary. Preventing fraud from the early stages of a legal or financial transaction is an important duty entrusted by the California Secretary of State of licensed notaries.

When Can a Notary Refuse to Notarize a Document?

Many notaries have faced the prospect of being asked by a customer, employer, or personal acquaintance to perform a notarization that would be considered illegal or unethical under California statutes. These instances shine a light both on the importance of using notaries who value their ethics and their professional reputation, as well as making sure you are using a notary who is properly trained and licensed in your state.

Different states have different standards for how and when a notary should determine whether a document signer may have been coerced or may not have the mental faculties to understand the document and sign it competently. California notaries are required to examine the document and make sure it is complete, without blank pages or significant blank spaces where the document could later be altered.

Reasons a notary can disqualify a document signer include:

  • The signer not being present.
  • The signer fails to provide proper legal identification.
  • A language barrier exists between the signer and the notary.
  • Refusal to swear or affirm a document’s contents when such an action is required.
  • The signer is not mentally competent to sign.

A notary should decline to notarize a document if:

  • The notary is also a signer for the document.
  • A transaction in the document directly involves the notary, such as a financial transaction in which the notary would derive a direct interest.
  • The signer is directly related to the notary.

The document should be rejected by the notary if:

  • There are missing pages or problematic blank spaces.
  • The document doesn’t possess a notarial certificate, and the signer doesn’t indicate which form of notarial certificate is necessary.
  • The document is a copy of a vital record, which is not within the purview of the notary.

Other reasons a notary can respectfully decline include suspicion the transaction may be illegal, refusal by the signer to pay required fees, requests made outside the notary’s business hours, or requests that violate the workplace policies of the notary.

A notary should not refuse a notarization due to a personal or professional bias against a signer or personal beliefs about their race, religion, gender, or lifestyle. A notary is a public official and should behave as such in their professional capacity.

Contact Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law

Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law, strives to meet clients with a comforting, personal approach that many large law practices cannot match. We address every case with compassion, empathy, and an earnest desire to help you through your legal ordeal so that you can see a better tomorrow. For assistance with your legal matters or Pasadena notary public needs, contact our offices today for a consultation or set up an appointment.

Call Today For More Information

Call 626-792-5955 (*must dial 1 plus 626 area code) or contact us online
to arrange a confidential consultation.

Based in San Marino (near Pasadena), Mr. Petrovich handles estate planning, probate, business law, real estate, and other legal matters throughout the San Gabriel Valley.