|Online Notary Course for California|
Part 6, Section 2
It is perfectly
legal to notarize documents for family members in California, so long as
you don’t have a personal interest in the matter. Since California has
community property laws, you must be especially careful when notarizing
for a spouse or domestic partner.
You must be
absolutely sure that you have no personal interest in the transaction
and that you do not stand to gain or benefit in any way as a result of
the transaction. Direct financial or beneficial interest would
include such things as notarizing any document that names you as a
beneficiary, or any document that benefits your spouse and therefore may
benefit community property that you hold with your spouse or domestic
It is a decision you must make for yourself, depending on the circumstances, but just keep in mind that if someone decides to challenge your notarization and they get a really aggressive attorney, the notarization, and possibly the entire transaction, could be considered void.
The issue here is “impartiality”. Notaries must be impartial witnesses in any notarization. That means that you have absolutely no interest one way or the other about the outcome of the transaction. With a family member, especially a spouse or domestic partner, it would be difficult to honestly say that you do not care about the transaction or how the parties will be affected.
If you are asked
by a family member to notarize a document, and you have any reservations
at all, it is usually a simple matter to find them another notary. Just
tell your family member that it’s more to their benefit to have another
notary handle it.
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