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Notary Tips

notary articles

Notaries Should Know How to Handle Sworn Statements

by American Association of Notaries
Once you have confirmed the identity of the person seeking your notary services and verified that they are prepared to sign freely and willingly, the next duty of a notary public is to determine what type of document they have presented to you. The two most common types of notarized documents are sworn statements and acknowledged statements. Sworn statements are often (but not always) called affidavits. (more...)

What it Means to Sign a Document Freely and Willingly

by American Association of Notaries
A notary public is an official witness to someone signing a document freely and willingly. "Freely and willingly" is one of those phrases that people use without really considering the meaning. This expression has been in use for so long that everyone thinks they know what it covers, but most people do not actually know. (more...)

Verifying the Identity of the Signer

by American Association of Notaries
The most important duty of a notary public is to verify the identity of the person signing the document. How this is done will depend upon the law in the notary's jurisdiction, so please check the following general principles against your state's laws and rules. (more...)

Personal Appearance of the Signer Before a Notary Is Required

by American Association of Notaries
It should go without saying that the signer has to personally appear before the notary public. Unfortunately, people will test this bedrock principle, either out of ignorance or arrogance. (more...)

Notary Serves as an Official Witness to Transactions

by American Association of Notaries
A notary public is an official witness. To serve as an official witness, you must follow several important steps. (more...)
Listed in: Duties of a Notary

What Does A Notary Public Do?

by American Association of Notaries
If you tell someone that you are a notary public, you can often expect that he or she will nod knowingly, as if fully aware of what that means. However, most people know only that a notary is "someone who stamps documents." Why those documents are stamped and what is involved in the process is not as well-known by the general public. Some people will admit that they don't know and will come right out and ask you, "What does a notary public do?" To answer that question, you have to first understand what a notary public IS. (more...)
Listed in: Duties of a Notary

Four Steps to Follow When Ordering a New Notary Stamp

by American Association of Notaries
A notary stamp is one of the most important tools that a notary public will use in the performance of his or her notarial duties. The official seal of a notary on a document is a recognized mark indicating that: (more...)
Listed in: Notary Supplies

How long must I retain my notary journals?

by American Association of Notaries
A document signer expects a notary not only to exercise reasonable care in notarizing his or her signature on a document, but also to be able to show evidence, often years after the date of the act, that the notarization was performed in accordance with proper notarial procedures.
(more...)

Notary Stamp Ink Color: Black or Blue?

by American Association of Notaries
If your state does not address which color ink to use when notarizing documents, ordering a notary stamp with a blue ink color is best. Given the improved quality of copy machines these days, it is difficult to distinguish between originals and copies. A blue ink notary stamp impression usually shows lighter prints than the original print on a black-and-white copier. (more...)
Listed in: Notary Supplies

Certifying Copies of a Notary's Record Book Entries

by American Association of Notaries
On occasion, a notary public may receive a request from the public for a copy or certified copy of one or more notarial acts that the notary previously performed and recorded in his or her notary's journal (also called a record book, register, or log). For example, a family member is questioning a will that was notarized two years prior, so another family member requests a copy of the recorded notarial act to verify the reliability of the will. (more...)
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Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information and ideas for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary educations, and securing their notary supplies but makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained . Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.

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