A notary public plays a vital role in society and it would be difficult to complete many major transactions without them.
Notaries have been around for centuries and have remained the same at the core — a person of impeccable integrity with a long tradition of trust.
The seal of a notary is as trustworthy and binding today as it was when first created.
What is a notary public?
A notary public is an official who is commissioned by state government to serve as an impartial witness of important documents that are being signed.
In some cases, notaries may also be required to administer oaths, where a signer declares under penalty of perjury that the contents of the document are true and accurate.
What is a notary signing agent?
A loan signing agent is a notary that specializes in loan documents. They are often used by mortgage companies and title companies to notarize loan documents for home buyers who are unable to appear in person at a closing.
A loan signing agent must first be a commissioned notary public and have completed a certification process that includes passing a background check. In some states, they may also be required to take continuing education courses on real estate and notary law.
What is a mobile notary?
A mobile notary service can send a traveling notary to your home/office to notarize your paperwork.
This is a wonderful service for people with busy schedules or anyone unable to travel. It also solves the issue with getting a professional notary at typical places like UPS, bank, or a library.
What does a notary do?
Notaries are often used to deter fraud and ensure accuracy in legal transactions.
They are responsible for screening each person signing the document’s identity, their willingness to sign without duress (no force or coercion), and their general awareness of the contents within the document.
The notarization process is simple
Before notarizing a document, notaries ask for photo identification from the participating parties. A notary can refuse to authenticate a document if they are uncertain about the identity of the signing parties or if there is evidence of fraud.
The document then receives the notary’s official signature and seal (usually a notary stamp) and now it is ready to be submitted.
Notaries are also responsible for keeping records of the documents they’ve notarized. This is yet another way we help to deter fraud and ensure accuracy in the event that a document needs to be verified at a later date.
Why are notaries needed?
The main purpose of a notary public is to deter fraud.
Recently, identity crime and attempted fraud jumped by 36% in just 1 year between 2020-2021. This makes the role of a notary increasingly vital in today’s world where scams are at an all time high.
Even with online notarizations which are done virtually, the notary still has the responsibility of screening the validity of the signers and their documents.
To be an effective agent against fraud, the notary public’s trust must be built on impartiality.
Notaries are under a legal duty not to act in cases where they have a personal stake or something to gain. The public holds faith that the notary’s screening process has not been tainted by self-interest.
This impartiality prevents a notary from refusing to assistance someone due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or status as a non-customer.
When do you need a notary?
There are many scenarios where you might need a notary. These include:
- If you’re buying or selling a house
- If you’re transferring ownership of a car or property
- If you want to complete a will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents
- If you’re renewing your passport
- If you’re traveling with your children
- If you need to sign an affidavit
- If you’re moving to another country
History of Notaries
Notaries have been around for centuries, with the first recorded instances dating back to ancient Babylon. At that time, notaries were wise and respected members of society who oversaw transactions to ensure their fairness.
Over time, the role of notary has evolved into a professional service. However, its core purpose remains the same: to guarantee that all participants in a transaction are who they say they are, that they understand what they’re signing, and that they’re doing so of their own free will.
The integrity that this profession requires has not changed over time, which makes them an invaluable part in our society’s infrastructure.
Notable Figure: John Calvin Coolidge, Sr. was a notary who sworn in the 30th president of The United States of America. That president happens to be his son, Calvin Coolidge.https://web.archive.org/web/20150906004309/https://www.sec.state.vt.us/media/68413/notaryguide_2015.pdf
How to become a Notary Public
To become a notary public, you must first contact your state’s notary division to find out the specific requirements. Generally speaking, you must be at least 18 years old, have a clean criminal record, and pass a written exam.
Please share this article the next time you are asked what is a notary public!