A Notary's Responsibility

At one time or another, most people will need to employ the services provided by a notary. These professional perform numerous important functions that are pertinent to certain personal and financial transactions. In fact, some of these events could not be completed without a notary's involvement.

The specific duties notaries are permitted to perform often vary from state to state. However, in many cases, such professionals are bestowed the authority to administer oaths, witness the signature of an important document, ensure that individuals who sign specific legal, personal and financial documents acknowledge the authenticity of said items and understand the basic parameters of their content, as well as certify that reproductions of such articles are authentic and the signees are indeed the persons who endorsed said documents.

Occasions When A Notary Might Be Needed

A notary might be needed to administer oaths or affirmations to various individuals being sworn-in to various positions. Additionally, said professional might be required to facilitate and authenticate the process by which a host of critical financial documents be made official including marriage or divorce certificates, business documents like contracts, mortgage papers, banking documents (specifically transfer or funds orders), legal orders like power of attorney, living will or living trusts.

The Notarization Process

To ensure a document receives notarization, a specific process must be followed. If any of the following steps or mandates are not adhered to, a notary cannot complete the process. Required elements include:

The Physical Presence Of The Signees Or Oath Takers

Due to the sensitive nature of specific legal and financial documents and the fear of fraudulent activity, a notary is legally required to request the physical presence of document signees or oath takers. This mandate is instituted to ensure the true identity of the persons in question, to confirm that said individuals understand what they are endorsing or affirming and oath to and that the parties in question were not coerced into endorsement or acceptance.

The Signees Or Oath Takers Must Produce Valid Identification

Parties to the notarization process are required to produce valid government issued photo identification confirming their actual identities. In certain cases, a notary may be permitted to accept the sworn testimony of at least two witnesses confirming the identities of the ceremonial participants.

The Notary Must Be Presented The Original, Completed Document

Any forms individuals intend to have notarized must be original copies and all pertinent or required information must be included before the document can be notarized.

The Document Must Be Appropriately Dated

The official endorsement date of the document in question must be on or earlier than the notarization date.

The Notary Must Opine The Signee Understands The Document's Contents

A notary is not permitted to authenticate a document until said professional believes the signees completely understand what they are endorsing.

A Verbal Ceremony Must Be Performed

The notary is typically required to read the terms of the agreement and inquire if the signees understand said provisions before authenticating any documentation.

Notarial Certification Is Required

When all the previous steps have been satisfactorily completed, official certification is given providing conformation and often including the notary's official capacities, as well as when said professional's term of service expires.