A notary public is a professional who is authorized to serve as an unbiased and impartial witness to sign important documents. Besides inspecting the document to verify its authenticity, they screen the signers for their true identity, willingness to sign, and understanding of what they are about to sign.
A notary carries out the following steps:
- Verifying the identity of the signer and asking them relevant questions to ensure that they are who they say they are
- Determining the signers’ willingness to sign the document out of their free will
- Checking the capability of signers and ensuring they are not mentally incapacitated or intoxicated during the notarization
- Witnessing the signing
- Providing their seal and signature,which notarizes the document
But not all documents need a notary. Keep reading to learn about important documents that need to be notarized.
Financial institutions such as banks and investment firms require notarization for most documents, including:
- Mortgage and loan documents: Banks may require borrowers to sign off on documents.
- Property deed: The buyer and seller of a property will have to secure a public notary’s signature to record their transaction.
- Financial statement: Financial statements often require a notary’s signature to authenticate a person’s identity and attest to the information in the document.
These are documents that mostly deal with responsibility and ownership. They include:
Grant Deed: A document that transfers ownership of real estate property.
Bill of sale: This document records the transfer of ownership of an asset to another party in exchange for something of equal value in return. It is used for transferring ownership of cars, aircraft, boats, and personal property such as art collections.
Living trust: This document is created during an individual’s lifetime where a trustee is given responsibility for managing their assets.
Guardianship agreement: This document assigns the care of one’s children to another adult for a certain period.
Businesses often use notary services to verify signatures and ensure that all parties understand the terms and conditions of service. These documents include:
- Articles of incorporation: If a person is starting a new company, then they will need to obtain documents called Articles of Incorporation. These documents must be notarized if they are to be submitted to a legal governing body.
- Commercial lease: Acquiring a commercial lease of a building may also require the document to be notarized.
- Employment contracts: Before hiring a recruit, an employer may require the services of a notary to sign off on the contract.
A notary public can refuse to notarize a document if they believe certain conditions are not being fulfilled. There are a few reasons why a notary public can deny services:
- Certain pages have too many blank spaces
- The document has missing pages
- Signers don’t have a valid photo ID
- The signer refuses to pay for the service
- The signer is not capable of signing the document
- The notary is one of the signers or is not an impartial witness
- The signer is not present
- Vital records like birth certificates and marriage licenses cannot be notarized.
Disclaimer: It should be noted that each state has specific laws on whether a specific document should be notarized. We request you do your research before starting the notarization process or talk to a certified notary public to know more.