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August 2, 2013

Legal Assistance Office can help with paperwork notarization

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Have you ever needed to get something notarized or get a certified copy of a document? Some may be unsure about the notarial services offered by their local Legal Assistance Office.

This article is intended to clear up any misconceptions about what can be notarized or certified at the Fort Irwin Legal Assistance Office.

It is important to understand that there are two types of notaries in the Legal Assistance Office – military and civilian. While both specialists are able to notarize most documents, each is limited in some way. This can cause some confusion. For example, real estate documents should generally be notarized by a civilian, but certified copies of military records can only be done by the military notary.

Military notaries are paralegal specialists, paralegal non-commissioned officers, and judge advocates, who have notarial authority under Title 10, United States Code 1044a. Civilian notaries are the civilian employees in the Legal Assistance Office who have been appointed and commissioned by the state of California. Army Regulation 27-55 limits and explains the documents that military and civilian notaries are able to notarize and certify.

According to this regulation, there are a lot of things a notary cannot do, such as notarize unsigned documents, documents not signed in the presence of the notary, false statements, pre or post date documents, or perform notarial services for a transaction known or suspected to be illegal, false or deceptive, or for someone who is being coerced. Notaries also cannot certify the authenticity of public, official, registered, or court records, or issue certified copies of such documents or solemnize marriages. Notaries cannot provide legal advice or interpretation of a document unless the notary is also an attorney.

Military notaries may make certified copies of some original documents provided that the notary determines the copy to be certified is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the original, usually by observing the copying process. Notaries will not make certified copies of public records (e.g. court records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, car titles, tax returns, and military leave and earning statements), because a certified copy can be obtained from an official source.

Notarial services are free and provided on a walk-in basis to those eligible for legal assistance services at the Legal Assistance Office, which is located in building 288 on Barstow Road across from the Military Police station and can be reached at 380-5321.




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