top of page

Notarial Acts In California

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

When you need to get a document notarized, it is your responsibility to let the Notary Public know which form you require. A Notary Public is unable, by law, to tell you which form to use; therefore, always check with the party who issued the document to you for the form to use. Forms used in California are as follows...


The purpose of an acknowledgement is for a signer, whose identity has been verified, to declare to a Notary that he or she has willingly signed a document; it requires the following steps:

  1. The signer must physically appear before the Notary.

  2. The Notary must positively identify the signer according to state rules (Driver's Licence, State ID, Passport, etc.).

  3. The signer may either sign the document before appearing before the Notary, or in the Notary's presence.

  4. The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for its intended purpose.

The signer must be able to directly communicate with the Notary that he or she willingly signed the document. In California, the Notary and signer must be able to communicate in the same language, a translator is not allowed.


The purpose of a jurat is for a signer to swear to or affirm the truthfulness of the contents of a document to a Notary; it requires the following steps:

  1. The signer must appear in person before the Notary and sign the document in the Notary's presence.

  2. In California, you are required to positively identify the signer (Driver's License, State ID, Passport, etc.).

  3. You must administer a spoken oath or an affirmation, and the signer must respond out loud. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not acceptable.

While not required by law, it is strongly recommended that you have the signer raise his or her right hand to emphasize the seriousness of the oath or affirmation.

A jurat cannot be executed by someone offering to take the oath in someone else’s name. The original signer must swear or affirm the oath in person before the Notary.


By law, California Notaries are ONLY allowed to certify copies of powers of attorney and NO other documents. Power of Attorney forms are legal documents completed by an individual (the “Principal”) to appoint someone else to act on their behalf (the “Agent” or “Attorney-in-Fact”). The Agent may be able to handle financial, medical, guardianship, or tax-related matters. If you are interested in creating a power of attorney, please contact a law professional to assist you. This is strictly to certify a copy of this form.


While a California Notary Public is unable to perform a copy certification for any document other than a Power of Attorney, they are able to perform a California Copy Certification By Document Custodian. This means that the document owner certifies that it is an actual copy of the original and the Notary acknowledges this act. An example would be copies of a patient's medical records.


In some instances, verbal oaths or affirmation are notarial acts in their own right. Follow these guidelines...

  1. The person taking the oath or affirmation must be physically present before the Notary. Oaths and affirmations may not be administered remotely by phone or email.

  2. The Notary may ask the person to raise their right hand or make another ceremonial gesture before responding, to emphasize the seriousness of the process. While these ceremonial formalities are seldom required by law, they have value in impressing upon your signer the significance of their actions.The Notary then administers the oath or affirmation by asking if the person swears or affirms the truthfulness of their statement. The wording may vary depending on your state

  3. The person taking the oath or affirmation then answers "Yes" or "I do." The person must speak clearly and audibly so the Notary can hear and understand the response.  

OATH (spoken pledge to God or a higher being)

Do you solemnly swear that the statements in this document/that you have made) are true to the best of your knowledge and belief, so help you God?"

AFFIRMATION (no reference to a higher being)

Do you solemnly swear, under penalty of perjury, that the statements in this document/that you have made are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?"

In California, when executing a jurat for a signature on a written document, Notaries must ask for acceptable proof of identity as prescribed under state law

314 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page