A Notary Public is a publicly commissioned officer of the state. In California, Notaries Public are appointed by the Secretary of State and granted four-year terms. They serve the public as an impartial witness and perform a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts, and sometimes require the Notary to place the signer under oath to swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the document is true and correct.
A Notary has three primary duties:
- To verify the true identity of the signer of the document.
- To establish their willingness to sign without duress or coercion.
- To determine their understanding of the content of the document and the implications of signing it.
As official representatives of the state, Notaries Public certify the proper execution of many life-changing documents of private citizens. Impartiality is essential and dictates that they not act in circumstances where they have personal interest, nor refuse service to any person due to race, nationality, religion, politics or sexual orientation.
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