Senior Citizens Special Notary Requests


Senior Citizens Special Notary Requests

elderly notary cathy wong nathan red tomatoe need san jose campbell mobile document serviceIt’s a difficult call – both to take and receive. I pick up the phone and the person on the other end is often in a panic. There’s a document that *MUST* be notarized, signed by their elderly parent or relative who is in poor health.

These situations are difficult, because the signer often may not fully understand what is going on – perhaps they are days or weeks away from dying. Yet, as often happens in life, there are legal, financial or real estate documents that must be signed by the elderly individual to give the adult child or caretaker the ability to handle the affairs of the aging person.

No Coersion

When I get these sorts of requests, as a Notary Public, I must be careful that the person signing the document is doing so of their More

So You Want To Be A Notary Public? – Obtaining your Commission (Part 2)

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So You Want To Be A Notary Public? – Obtaining your Commissionneil lieb notary public commission red tomato champion nathan bay area mobile notary service travel

In Part 1 of “So You Want To Be A Notary Public”, I discussed the required classes, that you must attend  either online or in person,  as well as the California state mandated test. After taking the 6 hour class and taking the test your next step is to…… wait….

The Wait….

The State of California doesn’t often get in too big of a hurry when processing the Notary Public tests. As such you may get your test results in 1 week or you might have to wait up to 1 month. In most cases you will receive your test results within about 10 business days and even faster if you provide the testing facility with your email address.

Unfortunately, while you’re waiting for your test results there isn’t much else you can do to help the Notary commission process move along. So wait you must.

The Big Day!

the big day notary red tomato champion nathan commission arrives bay area mobile notary service campbellYou’ll know that your test results are on their way when you start receiving Notary Public supply offers from various vendors in the mail. You will normally receive these materials the day *BEFORE* you receive your actual test results.

Selling Notary Public supplies is big business and there are no lack of vendors to choose from when buying your supplies – but we’ll talk about that a bit later (in part 3)…

The day has arrived and there it is, sitting in your mailbox – the non-descript white envelope from the California Secretary of State with your Notary Public test results.

Congratulations! You’ve passed the Notary Public Exam and now it’s time to get your background check completed.

Along with the test results will be instructions on where to obtain the Live Scan Form for your background check. You’ll need to print out the Live Scan Form and locate a finger print “rolling location” near you. Many local police or sheriff stations offer Live Scan services and many offer or require an appointment.

I suggest obtaining an appointment as many of the Live Scan locations have limited hours and tend to get very busy with walk-in traffic.

What does the background check cost?cost services fee payment bay area cathy wong nathan red tomatoe mobile notary public los gatos

To complete your Notary Public background check, you will need both a State of California and a Federal (FBI) background check. You’ll pay a separate fee for each of these checks. In addition, each Live Scan location may charge a service fee for providing the fingerprinting service.

As of early 2011 when I last has my background check completed the fees were as follows:

  • State of California Fee:  $32.00
  • Federal / FBI Fee:  $19.00
  • Fingerprint Service Fee:  $20.00
  • Total Fee: $71.00

After completing your finger printing, you’ll again get to wait while the background checks are completed. This too will take about 10 business days on average, before your results will be forwarded to the California Secretary of State.

Once the Secretary of State has received and reviewed you fingerprint / background check results they will forward your Notary Public Commission to you in the mail.

stay tuned notary public faq how to be campbell update cathy wong nathan red tomatoeIn the next installment of  “So You Want To Be A Notary Public”, I’ll show you how to complete the application process and give you some tips on how to get your business off to a quick start.

Stay tuned…

FAQ: How do I verify that my Notary Public holds an active commission in California?


notary fraud felony bay area mobile notary serviceFAQ: How do I verify that my Notary Public holds an active commission in California?

Since the act of impersonating a Notary Public is considered an act of fraud and is a felony offense, it’s fairly unlikely that you’ll run into a Notary Public who is operating without a current and valid commission. However, you may still wish to know that the Notary Public you’re working with holds an active commission, which county his or her bond is filed in or maybe you just want to know when their commission expires.


FAQ: Can you notarize my pictures?


notarize loose photos bay area mobile notary adoption china indiaFAQ: Can you notarize my pictures?

From time to time I get requests to notarize one or more sets of pictures. Often times this relates to documents being sent overseas for immigration or adoption purposes. While in other countries notarizing pictures may be a common practice, in the State of California it is not allowed. As a California Notary Public I am only able to notarize signatures, not “things” (such as pictures).

However, there is an acceptable way of handling this problem that will not only solve the client’s needs, but will still stay within the guidelines set forth by the Secretary of State in California.


Notario Publico?


Notario Publico?

notario publico not attorney bay area mobile notaryA Notary Public in California is forbidden from using the term “Notario Publico” or “Notario” in describing their services. In some countries the services of a Notary Public are synonymous with that of an Attorney – someone who can render legal advice. However, in California a Notary Public is not by default an attorney, and must be careful never to render legal advice. While it is possible that your attorney is a Notary Public, you should not assume this to be the case.

If a Notary Public in California is caught advertising using either Notario Publico or Notario, they are subject to having their Notary Public Commission revoked for 1 year on the first offense and permanently revoked upon the second offense. Because the consequences are so severe, you should never see a Notary Public in California using these terms.

notario statue bay area mobile notaryThis is not to say that the Notary Public can not notarize documents in Spanish or a language other than English. There is no problem with a California Notary Public notarizing a document written completely in Spanish or any other language. Nor does the Notary Public need to read or understand the language the document is written in. You may present a document written in any language to California Notary Public for notarization, provided that you can truthfully indicate to the notary that the document is complete.

flag mexico adoption immigration notary international ethiopia If you ever have questions about the legality of any action or advice given by a California Notary Public you should contact the Secretary of State Department who is responsible for the commissioning of all Notary Publics. The Secretary of State  maintains an informational website at

FAQ: The Notary Stamp On My Document Expired – What Do I Do Now?

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FAQ: The Notary Stamp On My Document Expired – What Do I Do Now?

When a Notary Public is commissioned by the Secretary of State in California, they are given a commission to notarize documents for 4 years. One of the more common documents that Notary Public may come across in their notary help faq neil lieb san jose mobile notary publicday to day  duty is the POA or DPOA (power of attorney or durable power of attorney). This is a document that maybe used for years or even indefinitely. If your power of attorney document was notarized by a Notary Public near the end of their commission term, it’s likely that at some point you may have an active and valid power of attorney document that has been stamped by a Notary who’s commission has expired. The obvious question remains, is the document still valid?

notary fraud no commission southbay notary serviceYes, the document is valid as long as the Notary Public who completed the signature notarization was actually a bonded and active Notary Public at the time the document was stamped. If they were not bonded or were not a commissioned and active Notary Public, then they have committed fraud, but that is another issue.

The document remains valid, even though the Notary Stamp shows that the commission has expired. I have found that when documents notarized in California are sent overseas (India is one example), often times the india document overseas notary processing bayareamobilenotaryreceiving agency will reject the California notarization if the Notary’s commission has expired. Because of this, if you are sending documents overseas, you may wish to ask your Notary Public how much time remains on their current commission before utilizing their services.

Stop! Don’t Notarize that Will


last will testament bay area mobile notary public travelStop! Don’t Notarize that Will

Thinking about death isn’t such a pleasant thing – but being prepared for it is. Part of that process is making sure that you have an updated and accurate Last Will and Testament. Because there are many legal resources available online for low or no-cost many people will choose to prepare their own Will and Testament to save a few dollars, rather than paying an attorney. It seems like the obvious thing to do, once the Will is complete, it should be taken to a Notary Public so that it can be notarized to “prove” the intentions of the signer.

As part of the comprehensive training that all California Notary Public’s go through now, I will ask you to seek the council of an estate planning attorney before requesting me to notarize your Will. An improperly created Will that is notarized can in face be null and void.  While I can not provide you with ANY legal advice, I will only notarize your neil lieb bay area mobile notary public stampWill if you give me specific directions that your attorney has instructed you to do so. If you seek to have your Will notarized, you should be able to provide your notary with the name, address and phone number of the attorney who advised you to seek notarization of your Will. Only then should a California Notary Public proceed with the notarization process of your Last Will and Testament.

Even Attorney’s Need A Notary Sometimes

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Even Attorney’s Need A Notary Sometimes

attorney needs san jose mobile notary service office

Today was a busy day – my phone kept  ringing off the hook with folks looking for a notary to come help them with their documents. It’s like that a lot in the mobile notary business – when it rains it pours! I’m not sure why this is – perhaps everyone was trying to finish up all their outstanding business before heading out to enjoy the 4th of July Holiday weekend?  But what ever the case – I always try to help as many clients as I possibly can.


My New Notary Public Commission Has Arrived

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silicon valley notary public mail package letter usps delivery economy rapid priorityMy New Notary Public Commission Has Arrived

Today I received an unexpected treat from Debra Bowen, the California Secretary of State – my brand new notary public commission and stamp manufacturing approval form!

Unexpected Surprise

As I wrote back in my May 28th blog entry, I really did not expect to receive my new commission until at least the first week in September at the earliest. Because of all the current financial wrangling that is going on in Sacramento, with budget cuts left and right, the Secretary of State department had indicated that it was up to 4 months behind in processing Notary Public applications and renewals. Kudos to the folks in Sacramento who are keeping things moving in these tough economic times.


So You Want To Be A Notary Public? – Where to Start. (Part 1)


So You Want To Be A Notary Public? – Where to Startbay area mobile notary service cupertino san jose sunnyvale adoption loan signing 408-777-8500

I am currently in the process of renewing my Notary Public commission which expires in July , 2011. As part of the renewal process all California Notary Public agents must submit to both State and Federal finger print clearance background checks. While I was getting my finger prints taken at the Santa Clara County Sherriff’s office in Cupertino, the officer in charge of rolling the finger prints asked me, “How do you get started as a Notary Public?”

Easy Money?

Of course, this is not the first time I’ve heard this question. I get it quite often as most people figure, hey you stamp that document and get paid $10, that’s easy! But alas, it’s never that simple. I told the officer the best way to get started is by taking the State of California mandated 6 hour notary training class. While you can take classes online, I believe the best way to absorb all the information quickly is to take a live training class. I recommend contacting as they offer live classes for both new and renewing Notary Public’s throughout California several times each month.

sherriff deputy notary fingerprint rolling background clearance check san jose notary publicBecause I am renewing my Notary Public commission for the second time, I was originally commissioned in 2003, I was only required to take the 3 hour “refresher” class. The thing I like about using is that they schedule a California State Exam proctor to come and administer the Notary Public exam immediately following the class, while all of the details of working as a Notary Public are fresh in  your mind.

What does it cost?

So what does it cost? To begin with, the course will run you $69.00. They will offer you a number of “upgrades” including a “Gold” package with all the materials you’ll need to get started. My advice would be to just sign up for the class and skip the add-on’s.

You’ll be able to pick-up all the needed materials after you’ve passed the test and have been approved by the State of California. Many online vendors will offer you all the supplies you’ll need at a much lower cost. The State of California even has PDF files of the standard Acknowledgment and Jurat documents available to download for free on their website. Just download and print as needed.

notary classes com silicon valley notary public 408-777-8500Once you’ve completed the class, you’ll need to take and pass the exam. The State of California requires a $40 payment by check on the day you take the test. Don’t for get to bring your ID – you’ll need to show a valid California Driver’s License or ID card, or a valid Passport before the proctor will allow you to enter the testing room.

So to get started on day one, your total outlay will be just over $100. In a future post I discuss how the process to become a Notary Public continues and the associated costs that go along with completing the process. Stay tuned…

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