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In most cases notarization must be done by a third party not directly involved in the transaction being notarized. In most jurisdictions a notary can notarize something for a family member as long as they are not the beneficiary of the transaction. This is for the protection of all parties involved and should be common sense in anyone's book.

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11y ago
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11y ago

This question needs to be divided into several parts.

First, can licensed California attorney, who is not a California licensed notary, notarize a document? The answer is no. Only persons with an active Notary Public license issued by the California Secretary of State may notarize a document.

Second question, if a person is licensed by California as both an attorney and a notary public, may the attorney notarize documents prepared by someone else. The answer is yes. Here, even though the person has two licenses, attorney and notary public, they are acting solely in the capacity of a notary public, and are allowed to notarize the documents.

Third question, if a person is licensed by California as both an attorney and a notary public, may the attorney notarize documents that the attorney prepared. The answer appears to be yes, but is less clear. A notary may not notarize a document in which the notary has a financial interest. Although the attorney/notary is being paid for time preparing the document, this is not an interest in the underlying transaction, it is only compensation for time to prepare the document. In California there is no direct authority.

There is persuasive authority from Massachusetts that notaries, who are also attorneys, are allowed to notarize the documents they prepared. Massachusetts Executive Order 455 (04-04) issued in May 2004 provides that an attorney may notarize documents in the following cases:

Executive Order 455 (04-04)

Section 6 (a) (5) " . . . a notary public who is licensed as an attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is named as an executor, trustee or in any fiduciary capacity in a document or employees of such attorney may perform notarial acts concerning such document"

Section 6 (a) (6) " . . . For example, this section shall not preclude a notary public who is licensed as an attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any employee of such attorney from notarial acts concerning any document where the attorney receives a legal fee for professional legal services rendered in connection with such document."

This Massachusetts Executive Order is not the law of California for notaries or attorneys, however it is persuasive in the event that no direct law is found in California.

There is no California case law, rule or statute that prohibits a California attorney/notary from notarizing documents prepared by the attorney/notary.

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Q: Can an attorney notarize a document in California?
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