Types of Documents You Can and Cannot Notarize

Have you ever been told that you need to notarize a document to initiate or move forward with a process? Notarizing documents means someone needs to verify your identity to sign an important document, such as legal, real estate, healthcare documents, etc.


A professional notary public service provider in California ensures that the client is aware of the content of the documents and is signing of their own free will.


However, not all documents need to be notarized. This article will discuss what documents a notary can notarize. Let’s get started!

Documents a Notary Can Notarize

Legal Affidavits

A legal affidavit is a sworn declaration of written facts. These documents are usually used as evidence in the court of law and thus need to be notarized. Legal affidavits are not authorized or accepted if they are not notarized.

Real Estate Documents

Notary publics in California specialize in notarizing multiple real estate documents, such as living wills, living trusts, community property declarations, quitclaim deeds, and more. A general notary public can easily sign these documents, but by getting additional certification and becoming a notary signing agent, you can obtain the proper amount of E&O coverage.

Mortgage Documents

Mortgage documents need to be notarized if you buy, sell, or transfer a home. Law firms require notarized documents before they can further the process and transactions.

Commercial Documents

If you are starting your business and looking to lease a building, you need to notarize the documents for beneficiary change and more. There are many commercial documents involved, so make sure to consult a notary public about all requirements.

Passport Applications

If you are applying for a passport, the documents need to be notarized. For renewal, notarization is not necessary.


Other documents or services that a notary public can notarize include:

  • Certified copies
  • Employment contracts
  • Investment documents
  • Insurance documents
  • Health care
  • Loan documents
  • Power of attorney
  • Signature witnessing

Documents a Notary Cannot Notarize

There are particular instances or a few exceptions where a notary doesn’t need to notarize or can refuse to notarize a document.


  • If a document has a white-out, then a notary will refuse to notarize it because they don’t understand the complete contents.
  • If the signer is not present or the document is incomplete.
  • If the signer cannot understand the document’s contents, then the notary cannot notarize the document.
  • If the signer cannot provide an adequate identification clause.
  • If the signer is a minor, or you believe it has been coerced into signing.
  • Wills and birth/death certificates are not notarized.


It is unethical to refuse notarization due to personal reasons. Thus it is necessary to study your state’s law and act accordingly. There is no exact answer to documents that cannot be notarized. As mentioned above, exceptions can be made.


Now that you know what documents a notary can notarize, you can prepare your documents accordingly. Consult professional California notary public service providers for complete information.


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