What Is A Public Notary?

A notary public is a public citizen who is appointed by the state to decrease fraud by verifying people s identity, administering oaths, witnessing the signing of legal documents and determining whether those who are signing documents are knowingly and willingly doing so. Other common duties involve witnessing the opening of safe deposit boxes, issuing subpoenas and certify copies of some document types. The exact duties and length of service of these public officers vary from state to state. In South Carolina, Florida and Maine, they can perform wedding ceremonies.

They are required to keep a record of the documents they certify. Additionally, they use an embossed stamp or seal to accompany the signatures on the documents. The stamps or seals have assigned numbers that help track which notary witnessed the information. This aids in deterring fraud.

Notaries are impartial witnesses. These public officers cannot refuse service to anyone unless they suspect that person of fraud, cannot verify his or her identification or are concerned about the person s mental awareness.

Does Notarization Make A Document True?

Even though a document may be notarized, it does not make the form true or legal. All it confirms is that the identity of the person signing the document has been verified. A notary is not responsible for the truthfulness of the document itself.

Does An Attorney Need to Prepare the Documents?

You can prepare your legal documents through an attorney, an online legal forms service (such as US Legal) or on your own, according to your situation and circumstances. Attorneys or other staff in legal offices can notarize documents if they have followed the processes required by the state.

Where Can I Find A Notary?

  • The national registry for notaries public
  • Notary Public Licensing Bureau for your state
  • Search the internet
  • Look in the phonebook
  • City or town halls
  • Banks

What Do I Need To Bring?

  • Your documents to be signed (Do not sign them ahead of time.)
  • Picture identification (current driver s license, passport or other government issued picture identification)
  • Money to pay for the service (Most states dictate the amount they can charge. It is usually between $0.50 and $10. However, some states including Alaska, Iowa and Maine can charge whatever they would like within a reasonable amount.)

Notario Publico and Notary Public

A notario publico, a high-ranking official who oversees legal matters in Latino countries, can perform many duties. Several of these include giving legal advice, preparing legal documents, arbitrating and looking for inconsistencies in legal documents. A notary public is not authorized to do any of these things.

How Does One Become a Notary?

Some states require tests, classes or even fingerprinting before an individual can begin working. Other states simply require the person to fill out a form and pay a fee. In order to qualify, the individual cannot have any felonies. If you come across an unethical or unprofessional public notary, you can report the person to your Secretary of State. Since they are appointed by their state, they cannot notarize documents in other states unless they are authorized to do so. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don t Have To. 

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