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Notary Blog

Long Beach Mobile Notary blog of The Document Diva. Feel free to contact The Document Diva for all of your mobile notary and Apostille needs @ (562) 314-4319.

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Californians Have One Year to get the Real ID

Posted on October 3, 2019 at 2:55 AM

Starting this month, Californians now have one year to get the Federally mandated REAL ID. After October 2020 you will need the REAL ID to fly, even domestically, and to enter Federal buildings.

What is the REAL ID?

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.

How to get a REAL ID

You will need to make an appointment at the DMV and bring the required identifying documents to prove your identity, such as a US Passport or a certified birth certificate. You will also need to bring proof of your social security number and two items that show evidence of California residence.

If you do not have a certified copy of your birth certificate, you will need to order one. You can go in person to the County Clerk/Recorder's office in the county in which you were born, or you can order it online through VitalCheck. Along with your request, you need to send in the Affidavit of Identity form which requires notarization.

A checklist of acceptable documents is on the DMV website. The fee to get a REAL ID is $36.

How to get a Power of Attorney Notarized in Jail

Posted on September 14, 2019 at 6:10 PM

A loved one going to jail creates a handful of unexpected problems and stress. Not only is the American legal system complicated to navigate; it is also costly. And because someone is incarcerated does not mean that their financial obligations stop. Thankfully, there is a provision in the law that provides help.

If an inmate needs someone to handle his financial obligations, he can sign a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows him to appoint an agent, aka an attorney-in-fact, to act on his behalf. This action is vital if the inmate needs to buy or sell a residence, retrieve property from a pawn shop, or to recover a vehicle from police impound. A power of attorney is signed in front of a notary public, and it is then notarized.

An inmate must be mindful of whom he chooses to act as his agent because he is putting his financial life in the hands of someone else. A power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to do many things, such as open a bank account, purchase property, take a loan, all in the principal's name. The powers given will continue to exist for an entire lifetime unless terminated or stated otherwise.

If you need a power of attorney notarized by an inmate, you should work with someone familiar with the jail system. Mistakes due to an inexperienced notary can be detrimental.

As a legal professional, notaries do not need an appointment to visit an inmate in a Los Angeles or Orange County jail. Once you decide to move forward with the notarization, you will meet me, The Document Diva, at the county jail, if feasible, and I will go into the jail to complete the notary. I will need the power of attorney document, the inmate's name and booking number, and payment. Because the inmate's wristband is an acceptable ID, you will not need any other ID. The jail notary appointment usually takes thirty minutes to an hour if there are no lockdowns or other issues.

Los Angeles County Jails - Men's Central, Twin Towers, Pitchess Detention Center (Wayside), Century Regional Detention Center (Lynwood Women's Jail).

Orange County Jails - Orange County Men's Central Jail, Theo Lacy Facility, James Musick Facility, Women's Central Jail.

How to get a Small Estate Affidavit in CA?

Posted on February 27, 2019 at 3:30 PM

Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic events anyone can experience. Along with the emotional turmoil, there are often legal affairs that have to be settled. Moreover, if there is no will the decedent's heirs may have to go to probate court to divide the estate. Thankfully there is a way to avoid the headache and expense of the probate court.

If it is an estate valued at less than $150,000 the California Probate Code 13050 has created a procedure that allows a beneficiary to inherit a small estate without a formal probate proceeding. The process involves having an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property notarized.

You're entitled to use the small estate procedure if you have a legal right to inherit from the deceased. People who qualify include a beneficiary in the deceased's will and the guardian or conservator of the estate.

If the deceased died without a will (intestate), then you must be someone who has a right to inherit under the state intestacy inheritance law (spouse, child, or possibly other relatives if no spouse or child exists).

The affidavit must be accompanied by:

  1. A certified copy of the death certificate
  2. Evidence of the decedent’s ownership of the property
  3. Proof of identity of the person signing the affidavit

Personal property is anything that is not real estate, such as furniture, jewelry, household goods, and bank documents.

To collect the personal property three criteria must be met:

  1. At least 40 days must have elapsed since the death
  2. No administrative proceedings are pending
  3. The estate cannot exceed $150,000 in value

Does the small estate affidavit need to be filed with the court?

No documents are required to be filed with the court if the small estate law is used.

Where do you get a small estate affidavit?

You can get the form from the court in the county of the decedent or online.

I have included links to the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property form, the California Courts, LegalZoom, and the Sacramento Law Library for more detailed information.

You've Become a Notary, Now What? Let Me Coach You!

Posted on February 19, 2019 at 3:30 PM

You took the notary class, studied for the test and passed the background check, so what's next? First of all, congratulations on becoming a notary! Passing the notary test is not always easy, so you’re to be commended. You’re now an official officer of the state. Who knew that one day people would pay you for your signature?!

I know when I first became a notary over ten years ago I was intimidated about performing my first notarization. There are countless documents to be notarized, it’s impossible to know them all, and I didn’t want to make a mistake. Thankfully, I received valuable training from another experienced notary.

With that said, I’m happy to announce my new notary coaching services. In an hour-long, one-on-one video training, I will walk you through notarizing the most commonly notarized documents. We will notarize a deed of trust, power of attorney, learn how to fill out your notary journal, discuss when to use a jurat or an acknowledgment, cover what is a copy certification by document custodian, certify a copy of a power of attorney, and much more!

The new notary coaching is the training for you if you are interested in learning how to notarize documents right the first time, are nervous about performing your first notarization, or you want to walk into your first notary appoint poised and confident.

Sign up today to take advantage of introductory pricing -

For now, the new notary training is limited to California notaries. If you are interested and in a different state, please fill out this interest form -

Getting Your Estate Plan Ready for the New Year

Posted on January 11, 2019 at 7:50 PM

The new year brings a lot of excitement and expectation as to what is to come. Many people take this as an opportunity to set goals they want to accomplish in the coming months. One of those goals should be to review, or put in place, an estate plan.

In California alone, over a thousand new laws went into effect January 1st, 2019. Because some of those laws could affect your estate, it's essential to review and update your plan. Also, any major life event such as a marriage, divorce, moving to a new state, birth of a child, or the death of a loved one should trigger a review.

The primary purpose of an estate plan is to help you examine your financial needs and assets to make sure that your heirs are provided for in the best possible way in the event of your death. One benefit is that a trust can protect your heirs from the costly and complicated probate process. In California assets valued at over $150,000 are automatically sent to probate if there is no trust in place.

While an estate plan is made up of various financial documents, only a few require notarization. Those are a power of attorney, a medical directive, a trust, a certification of trust, a HIPPA release, and grant deeds if you're transferring property to the trust.

Estate plans are complicated legal documents, so often they are drawn up by an attorney or financial planner. But if you are knowledgeable it is also possible to do it yourself with forms purchased at an office supply store or online.

Find Unclaimed Money For FREE

Posted on January 2, 2019 at 3:15 PM

One of the best feelings in the world is finding money you didn't know you had. Whether it's on the street or in the pocket of an old pair of jeans, finding money feels like you have won the lottery.

Did you that you can quickly check online to see if there is any unclaimed money being held by the state in your name? Each state has a database that you can search. You can go directly to your state's website, or as I just discovered Credit Karma has an unclaimed money feature.

While finding money might seem like a fluke there is actually $40 billion sitting with state governments right now. The cash comes from uncashed paychecks, forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed refunds, and insurance payments that were never collected. After a company or financial institution loses touch, that cash is considered abandoned and is handed over to the state government until it's claimed.

Each state has its own rules about filing a claim online or by mail. If the money is over a certain amount, the state may require the claim form be notarized. Check your unclaimed money status today at

How to get an Apostille in Long Beach

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Have you been asked to get a California Apostille for your document that is going out of the country? Initially, when people hear the phrase apostille, they are confused because they are unfamiliar with the term.

An apostille is a state or federal authentication that allows the document to be sent from one country to another without any further intervention. While the apostille process may at first seem cumbersome, it is a much easier process than documents being to non-apostille countries.

The apostille process requires a document to be signed or notarized by an appointed government official, and the Secretary of State authenticates that signature, or if it's a federal document, the Department of State in Washington D.C.

According to the statement on apostilles, apostilles do not validate the contents of a document. It simply certifies the authenticity of the signing officer, their capacity and the identity of the seal or stamp on the document.

Apostilles are frequently required on powers of attorney, divorce decrees, and school records.

I provide a convenient mobile apostille service. My service includes the travel to you, document notarization, and the return delivery of your apostille. I cover Long Beach, the Southbay, and Orange County. I can be reached at 562-314-4319 by phone or text.

Are Witnesses Required to Notarize a Power of Attorney?

Posted on November 28, 2018 at 3:20 PM

A power of attorney allows an agent appointed by the principal to sign on their behalf if they are unable to for some reason. The most common reason I come across is due to sickness.

Commonly I am called to hospitals or convalescent homes because a patient's sickness or injury has reached the point where they need someone to make financial or healthcare decisions for them.

Sometimes I am asked if witnesses are required to be present at the time of the signing. The short answer is no because in California the notary is the only independent witness needed. But if the document requires it and it's being used in another state then yes, witnesses are required.

The only requirement is that the witnesses cannot be mentioned in the document. They can even be relatives as long as they, once again, are not mentioned in the power of attorney.

What is a Mobile Notary?

Posted on November 14, 2018 at 2:55 AM

Even though I've been a mobile notary for over ten years, I still run across people who have never heard of the service. They know what a notary public is, but their interaction with one has been limited to walking into a bank with their document to have it notarized. Thankfully, I've been able to introduce many happy clients to my services.

A mobile notary is a notary that travels to meet with clients that need their documents notarized. Often when a client requires a traveling notary, they are unable to leave their location to find a notary, so it's much more convenient to have a notary travel to them. Because a trip is involved, there is a travel fee plus the $15 per notarization fee.

On a daily basis, I go to businesses, hospitals, convalescent homes, residences, coffee shops, or any other convenient location to assist clients with their essential documents. The most frequently notarized documents are powers of attorney, health care directives, and in the summer months parental permission to travel letters.

If you require a mobile notary in Long Beach, Lakewood, Paramount, Compton, Wilmington, Carson, or any other surrounding city, please give The Document Diva a call.

California Notaries Receive a Much Deserved Raise

Posted on April 24, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Effective January 2017, the California notary per signature fee increased from $10 to $15 for the first time in over 20 years! That's a 50% increase which is the highest raise I have ever received; when I worked for Corporate America my largest increase was only .35!

Hopefully, other states will follow suit because across the country the notary fee varies widely, as it can be as little as $2 per signature. I am not sure how anyone can make a living on $2 a signature, but that is the fee in several states such as Arizona, Idaho, and Georgia.

Thankfully, California recognizes the value that notaries provide and the liability we take on. As a notary, you are personally responsible for your errors. Anytime you perform a notarization you open yourself up to litigation. Even though you are an officer of the state, the state does not provide any protection against lawsuits.

Personally, I have never been called into court though some of my colleagues have. With that said, law enforcement and attorneys have contacted me over the years about a few notarizations that ended up in their hands.

A fellow notary was sued after someone illegally copied his stamp and forged his signature in a real estate transaction. It was only due to his personal errors and omission insurance that prevent him from being dragged into court.

With the personal liability that's involved in being a notary plus the cost of doing business, the increase came at a perfect time.