The position of a Notary Public plays an integral part in maintaining integrity, honesty and transparency in the flow of legal documents that help our society function in an organized manner. Appointed by each individual state’s government, a notary acts as an impartial witness who verifies the identity of all parties signing legal documents by requiring proof of identification of each party.
Normally the notary public is approved and appointed by the secretary of state. They are commissioned to act as agents of the state governments with the expectation they will follow all of the written rules of notarization without displaying any personal bias.
A notary public begins the process of notarizing a document by screening the identification of the participating signatories. Once an individual has satisfied the notary he or she is who they say they, the individual must sign and date the notary’s permanent logbook. Each party must also swear they are not under any form of duress, are fully aware of the nature and content of the documents they are signing and doing so on their own free will. Once these conditions are met, the parties sign under the watchful eye of the notary public until all signatures are collected. At this point, the notary will stamp their official inked seal on the documents, completing the process.
Documents requiring official notarization include all transactions that convey real estate, documents that grant powers of attorney and papers that lay out prenuptial agreements and other transactions of a life-changing manner. In some cases, notaries are required to have the parties swear under oath that all statements of fact are true under the fear of perjury if they are not.
Why Use A Notary
Maintaining the public trust in our government and government officials by the public is critical in guaranteeing a system governed by laws. The rules of impartiality dictate that no one is ever refused the services of a notary public based on race, religion, politics, nationality or sexual preference.
The state requires all first-time notary applicants to go through an approved training course. This also applies to notaries who have let their notary license expire for over a year or have been fined for failure to comply with all of the regulations covering notary procedures as dictated by the state over the previous four years. Once the education process has been completed, persons seeking their notary public license can be sworn in.
Because banks and real estate offices initiate many documents that need notarizing, they normally will have one or more notary-public certified employees on duty. If a party walks in off the street and asks for the services of a notary in these businesses even if they are not a customer, the state requires a notary to perform their notarization duty. In most cases, the service is offered free of charge, but the notary does have the right to charge a nominal fee for their time.