What Types of Documents Can Every Notary Public Notarize?

by Jan Schulman
(Oxnard, California)

My husband just became a Notary Public but says that he must take additional courses in order to notarize forms such as lending applications, purchases of property, etc. is this true? If so, then what CAN he notarize?

Great question! In California, once a notary has passed the qualifying test, filed their bond with the county, and received their notary commission and stamp, they may begin to notarize any documents presented by a client for notarization.

I think what your husband may be referring to, is the additional education required to become a signing agent (this is what notaries public who focus on notarizing closing documents on real estate are commonly called). The additional training is required to be able to call yourself a "signing agent", however, you do not need to be a signing agent to notarize real estate documents.

Think of the additional training/certification as specialization; kind of like you could have your sinus infection diagnosed by a general practitioner or an ear/nose/throat specialist---either can do the job, however, the general practitioner cannot call him/herself an ENT.

Also, if your husband is looking to solicit notary work from banks and mortgage companies, many of them DO require that you have the additional signing agent training/certification.

In the end, a notary public with a commission can complete any notarization presented. The additional training may make more clients consider you in contracting for notary work.

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