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What is the Function of a Notary?

by Yvonne Ruiz


The primary functions of the Notary Public in California are to act as an impartial witness to the signing of documents, to administer oaths, and to help deter fraud by ensuring a signer’s identity. As a Notary, I perform “ministerial functions”, which means that rules and procedures for our notarial acts are written into state and government codes which must be adhered to. Since, I follow the procedures outlined in California laws; I refuse to perform notarial acts in situations that conflict with those codes.


What kind of documents need to be notarized? – Certifying powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other authorized paperwork, Administering oaths, Witnessing signatures to affidavits, contracts, and verifying paperwork; certifying copy documents; exemplifying official documents. Residential loan documents; refinance, Home Equity Line of Credit, purchase, loan modifications, reverse mortgage, any loan forms that require notarizing. Real Estate: Deed of Trust, Acknowledgments, Conveyances, Escrow documents, Interspousal Deed, Mechanical Liens, Mortgage Deeds, Quit Claim Deed, Title Documents, Transfer of ownership & title and any business related documents. 


Explain the process of getting a document notarized. The person or people who need to get the document notarized need to be present with a valid current ID. I scan over the document for several purposes: (1) to ensure that there are no blank spaces; (2) to determine which type of notarial act is necessary; (3) to record the document description in my journal; (4) to ensure that the document does not require me to perform an act I am not authorized to do; (5) to determine that the underlying transaction does not appear to be fraudulent on its face. A document is “notarized” with a particular embossed notary seal to affirm that the signers are certainly who they are saying they are. Notaries Public affix their official seal or stamp, to paperwork instantly under, adjoining or as close to as potential to their signatures.


Yvonne Ruiz is with Wine Country Notary.