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. A notarization is a process by which the signer of an important document appears before a Notary and swears or affirms that all facts stated in the document are true, to their knowledge.

The notarial act also includes verifying the signer’s identity through proper identification documents such as a driver’s license or passport, and providing the signer with a signed certificate that confirms the document was signed and witnessed properly.

The notarial act provides an extra layer of protection for both parties involved in the transaction, helping to ensure that no fraud or coercion occurred.

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 is normally an acceptable forms of identification. The Notary must also be reasonably certain that the signer is not being forced or coerced into signing the document.

The identity of the person signing, as well as their willingness to sign without pressure, must be established before a Notary will proceed with the notarization. A Notary should always take precautions to guard against fraud and must protect the person signing by refusing to notarize any document if they have any doubt that the signer is not who they say they are, or if they believe coercion or fraud has occurred.

The Notary will then check the ID and make sure all information on it matches what is in the document being signed. Once identity and willingness to sign have been established, the Notary will proceed with the notarization. The Notary will then affix a signature and seal to the document. The seal is an assurance that the document was properly witnessed and signed in the presence of a Notary Public.


Notaries serve an important function by safeguarding important documents and protecting all parties involved in a transaction. Notaries are able to verify the identity of signers and validate their willingness to sign without coercion or fraud. The Notary’s signature, seal and certificate then provide additional assurance that the document was properly executed. With the help of an impartial notary, you can be sure that your important documents are handled safely, securely, and right.​