A Notary Public is a person of integrity authorized by the secretary of state to serve the public as an impartial witness in a variety of official fraud-deterrent activities linked to the signing of integral documents. These formal acts are known as notarizations or notarial acts. Notaries are publicly appointed as “ministerial” officials, which means they are expected to follow written rules without exercising significant personal discretion, as would be the case with a “judicial” official.


What exactly does a Notary do?

A Notary’s responsibility is to screen signers of significant papers for their real identification, willingness to sign without pressure or intimidation, and knowledge of the document’s or transaction’s contents. Some notarizations additionally require the Notary to administer an oath to the signer, proclaiming under penalty of perjury that the information in a document is true and correct. Property deeds, wills, and powers of attorney are examples of papers that frequently necessitate the presence of a Notary.


The foundation of the Notary’s public confidence is impartiality. They owe it to themselves not to act in situations in which they have a personal interest. The public believes that the Notary’s screening duties are not tainted by self-interest. And impartiality requires a Notary to never refuse service to someone because of their race, country, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or status as a non-customer.


Notaries Public, as official representatives of the state, certify the proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens, whether those transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the plethora of other activities that enable our civil society to function.


What is the purpose of notaries and notarizations?

Notaries prevent fraud by establishing that the signer understands the document they are signing and is a willing participant in the transaction through the notarization process.


How does a Notary recognize a signer?

A Notary will usually ask to see a recent ID with a photo, physical description, and signature. A driver’s license or passport are normally acceptable forms of identification.