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.
We offer a full range of notary public services for the people of Pasadena and the surrounding areas, including:
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:
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 Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law. 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.
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.
Any attorney could, in theory, get their notaries license, meaning that you could find a notary attorney practicing in just about any specialized field of law. Some of the types of lawyers most likely to be licensed as a notary would include:
While the bulk of a notary attorney’s business is likely to focus on their law practice, their workday could also involve any of the tasks typically required of a notary. In short, a notary serves as a trusted witness for the state and conveys that authority through their seal, their signature, and their word. A notary’s official affirmation adds important weight to any official document or court proceeding. Some of the typical tasks a notary may be called upon to perform include:
Notaries also have a longstanding legal authority in California to serve as wedding officiants, although not all notaries offer this service. Weddings are sometimes considered outside the scope of services a notary attorney offers as a legal specialist.
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.
Not only can a lawyer become a notary in California, but using an experienced attorney as a notary has several clear advantages:
It can often save time and hassle to hire an attorney who is also a notary. In certain specific situations, it is possible that an attorney may not be legally or ethically able to notarize documents that they have worked on themselves. In this case, the services of a second notary or second lawyer may need to be retained. Your notary attorney can let you know when and if this becomes necessary.
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:
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:
A Pasadena public notary who is not an attorney is trusted by the state of California to use their seal, signature, and word in the same affirming matter as an attorney notary does. The state doesn’t recognize the notarization conducted by an attorney any differently from a public one, but there are plenty of other benefits an attorney can offer.
When it comes to notarizing legal documents, either you or the notary must know exactly what the form says. Notarizing a form that hasn’t been properly prepared and having the mistake go uncorrected can lead to delays or even compromise important transactions. Even if the document has a potential error, a non-attorney notary is limited in their ability to give advice. The notary has legal and ethical obligations not to offer legal advice they aren’t qualified to dispense.
Consider the case of a mobile notary who isn’t an attorney but is entrusted by a mortgage financier to supervise the signing of important real estate forms. The customer has enjoyed the convenience of communicating with the mortgage company exclusively through phone and email and now is thrilled to have a notary come to them.
Unfortunately for the client, an errant clause left on one of the forms is significant enough of a mistake to stall the entire transaction. An attorney reviewing the same document for notarization services likely would have caught the glaring error. They could have fixed the form or gotten a new form to be produced expediently by the mortgage company. The customer may now require not only a new form to void the prior document, but they also have to coordinate another session with a notary to properly complete the transaction.
Notary services provided by a non-attorney can also be problematic if laws have recently changed. An attorney will likely be up to speed on all the latest relevant laws and the impacts of any recent legislation or legal rulings on the relevant legal language. A banker, librarian, or office administrator who provides notary services is far less likely to have the updated knowledge of an attorney.
If a real estate transaction being delayed or jeopardized sounds frustrating, a misunderstanding involving a will can be even more devastating for yourself and your heirs. An attorney should be leading the process of creating a will as it is, and it’s essential to have a thorough legal review before notarization is applied to the document. Whether you are in the role of being the heir, serving as a trustee or it is your family exercising the terms of your will, a legal mistake won’t be made up for simply by having a notary stamp on the papers.
A good Pasadena lawyer is worth their weight in gold, even for seemingly routine transactions such as real estate documents and simple wills. Having legal counsel review any documents you intend to sign before they are notarized is always a good practice.
Some of the qualities of a good notary include:
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.
It can’t be stressed enough that a notary who is not an attorney can’t be entrusted to provide legal advice. An attorney can service you with legal advice once you become their client and, in many instances, can notarize documents as part of the attorney-client relationship. Using a notary attorney often adds a layer of efficiency to the legal task you are trying to accomplish, rather than having to spend time and money securing legal services and a separate notary.
In most cases, an attorney who is a notary can provide you with legal service preparing documents and serve as the notary as well. Even in instances where exceptions arise, the lawyer can often lean on a partner or secretary in the law office to legally perform the duty. Here are some of the exceptions where an attorney can’t serve as a notary:
An experienced attorney who provides notary services in California knows when they are not permitted to serve in a notary role for a client. This should provide extra peace of mind knowing the notary services rendered are beyond reproach.
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:
A notary should decline to notarize a document if:
The document should be rejected by the notary if:
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.
Robert G. Petrovich is a local attorney and notary public with deep California roots and an impressive background in business and family law. He has been helping the people of Pasadena and the greater Southern California region through their toughest legal battles for more than three decades.
Petrovich began his education focused on business administration and economics at the University of Southern California. He graduated magna cum laude before continuing on to law school at the University of San Diego. Since graduating from law school, Petrovich has returned to the classroom regularly, teaching business classes at California State University in Los Angeles.
In 1978, Petrovich was admitted to the California Bar and has been practicing successfully since, focusing on the areas of business law and estate planning. In addition to being licensed to practice law in California’s state court system, he also holds bar admission to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the federal tax court, allowing him to assist the people of Pasadena in a wide variety of legal issues.
Robert G. Petrovich and his high-powered legal team specialize in several areas of the law, including:
Petrovich began his private practice with a commitment to making a real-world difference for the people of Pasadena. Areas of focus for the practice include estate planning and complex probate court cases. Whether these matters need to be approached from a transnational or litigation perspective, Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law, can help see you through the California courts to achieve a positive outcome.
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.
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.