What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a state-appointed official who administers oaths or affirmations and serves as an impartial witness when important documents are signed. A Notary must positively identify each signer, and make sure the signer has entered into the agreement knowingly and willingly by properly executing his/her duties, a notary helps to deter fraud and promote the integrity and reliability of document transactions.

Who decides what type of notary action is needed?

The Client. Notary Public is considered a ministerial official (service) and not a judicial official. If you do not know, seek the advice of the person/entity who requires the notarization.

Common types of notarizations:

  • Acknowledgement/ Jurat/Affidavit - The signer personally appeared before the Notary, was identified by the Notary and acknowledged to the Notary the document was freely signed.

Does having a document notarized make it true and/or legal?

No. The accuracy of the document or legality is the signer’s responsibility. A Notary Public is the impartial witness that a signer has been positively identified and signed of free will the document presented. A Notary is not the impartial witness to the document. Notary Public cannot answer legal questions or provide advice about the particular document.

Can a Notary refuse to notarize ?

A Notary shall refuse to notarize if the Notary has knowledge, or a reasonable suspicion that can be articulated, that the transaction is unlawful or improper. For example, uncertainty of a signer’s identity, willingness, mental awareness, or has cause to suspect fraud.

Notaries may not refuse service on the basis of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer.