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.