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Naming beneficiaries to keep the peace.
January 27, 2019

Acceptable Forms of ID for Notarization

What are acceptable forms of ID to notarize your signature?

According to the National Notary Association, notaries are presented with expired IDs more often than you might think. The elderly, disabled, or any person who no longer drives, often has an expired ID. The most common acceptable form of ID s a driver’s license.  However, the license must be current.  Current means the license has not expired or the issuance date is no more than five years old.  As a result, your signature may be notarized.

California does not allow a person to be notarized through personal knowledge.

My mother asked me to notarize her signature; therefore, I asked to see her driver’s license.  She was surprised that I couldn’t notarize her signature since I knew her.  California does not allow “personal knowledge” as an acceptable form of ID.  So, I needed to see her current ID to notarized her signature.  Every signer must be identified through one of the forms of ID listed in California Code 1185[b]:

  1.  California driver’s license or nondriver’s ID
  2.  U.S. passport (or passport card)
  3.  An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  4.  Driver’s license or official nondriver’s ID issued by a U.S. state
  5.  Canadian or Mexican driver’s license issued by an appropriate public agency
  6.  U.S. military ID
  7.  Valid foreign passport
  8.  Employee ID issued by an agency or office of the state of California
  9.  Employee ID issued by a California city, county, or city and county
  10.  ID card issued by a federally-recognized tribal government
  11.  Valid consular identification document issued by a consulate
  12.  The oath or affirmation of one or two credible witnesses

Common Documents Requiring Notarization

  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Amendment to Revocable Trust
  • Transfer Deeds to transfer real estate
  • Any document to be recorded
  • Sworn Statement
  • Parental Consent for Travel
  • Grant Deed/Quitclaim Deed
  • Interspousal Transfer Deed
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Student Enrollment Verification
  • Resignation of Trustee
  • Bill of Sale
  • Purchase Agreement
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Pre-nuptial Agreement
  • Post-nuptial Agreement

Common Transactions That Require Notarization

  • Purchasing a home
  • Buying real estate
  • Selling a business
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Conservatorship
  • Legal transaction
  • Anything required to be recorded in county records

Recently, my client came to my office to sign estate planning documents.  When he gave me his driver’s license, I noticed that both the expiration and issuance dates were over five years old.  So, I asked for another form of ID per the above list.  Since his expired photo ID was his only form of ID, I could not notarize his signature.  Also, because I did not know his wife personally, I could not use her as a credible witness.   As a result, I was unable to notarize his signature. In the future, check your ID if you know your signature needs to be notarized.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a notary call Carol Ramirez of In Trust Legal.  We are located downtown San Luis Obispo, just one block from the courthouse.  If you can’t come to us, we will come to you.  Just be sure that you have an acceptable and current form of ID before you call.

In conclusion, This content is general knowledge and can be found on any bookshelf in a public library or bookstore in California.* * 

Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez, CLA, LDA, is a registered and bonded Legal Document Assistant providing affordable legal document preparation to consumers with the highest degree of confidentiality and professionalism.

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