Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public (sometimes called a Notary or Public Notary) is a person of proven integrity appointed by state government to officially witness signatures on legal documents, collect sworn statements, and administer oaths. A notary public uses a seal (either a rubber stamp or embossing tool) to verify his or her presence at the time the documents were signed.

In order for the document to be properly signed and notarized, the signer must appear before the notary, prove his/her identity to the notary, and acknowledge his/her comprehension of the document and willingness to sign OR swear/affirm that the contents of the document are true. The required notarial act is determined by the composition of the document or is at the direction of the signer or other party involved with the document. It is not determined by the notary.

May a Notary give legal advice or draft legal documents?

No.
A Notary is forbidden from preparing legal documents for others or acting as a legal advisor unless he or she is also a licensed paralegal or licensed attorney.

Why are documents notarized?

Documents are notarized to deter fraud. The Notary being an impartial witness ensures that the signers of the documents are who they say they are and not impostors. The Notary makes sure that signers have entered into agreements knowingly and willingly.

Does notarization mean that a document is "true" or "legal"?

No.
Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of documents they notarize. Notaries certify the identity of signers. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.

May a Notary refuse to serve people?

Yes, only if the notary is uncertain of a signer's identity, willingness or general competence, or has a good reason to suspect fraud. Notaries should not refuse to serve anyone because of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer. Discrimination on any basis is not a suitable policy for a public official.

What are Identification Requirements?

Notary publics must verify your identification by official issued IDs, like driver's licenses and passports. These documents cannot be expired. Your identification must meet the requirements.

What are Acceptable Forms of Identification?

- State-issued driver's license
- State-issued identification card
- U.S. passport issued by the U.S. Department of State
- U.S. military ID
- State, county and local government IDs
- Permanent resident card, or "green card," issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Foreign passport

 

L&Deed Notary and Legal Services, Inc.