What is the purpose of a notary public, anyways?

The basic function of a notary public is to prevent fraud with regard to signed documents. Notary publics have a duty to verify the identity of the signer of the document, make sure that the singer is willing and competent to sign the document, and then maintain a record of the signing if there is ever any problem down the line, for example a dispute in the courts.

Documents that commonly require notarization include:

  • Travel Affidavits (permission for child to travel with non-parent, for instance)
  • Mortgage documents
  • Requests for birth certificate from L.A. County Recorder
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Grant deeds

Whenever you are going to see a notary public, keep in mind that the duty of the notary public is to verify the identity of any person(s) signing a document. Therefore, any signers of the documents must always present valid, current photo identification.