A notary public of the common law is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters. Main functions are to draw, attest or certify under her official seal deeds and testamentary documents, conveyances of real and personal property and powers of attorney; to authenticate such documents under her signature and official seal in such a manner as to render them acceptable, as proof of the matters attested by her, to the judicial or other public authorities in the county where they are to be used. Any such act is known as a notarization. The term notary public only refers to common-law notaries and should not be confused with civil-law notaries.
The California Secretary of State, Notary Public & Special Filings Section, is responsible for appointing and commissioning qualified persons as notaries public for four-year terms.