Notary Tips

Handling I-9 Forms

by American Association of Notaries
Notaries are frequently requested to notarize I-9 forms and are often confused by the lack of a notarial certificate on the form that would allow them to perform the notarial act and affix their seal. This article will clarify the proper way to handle I-9 forms. (more...)
Listed in: I-9 Forms

Notarizing for Signers who Cover their Faces

by American Association of Notaries
As a public officer, a notary cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, race, or religion. However, unintentional discrimination may arise when a woman who covers her face for religious reasons requests your notarial services. When this circumstance occurs, a notary must always act with the utmost caution to ensure that he or she does not discriminate but also follows the law. For this reason, notaries should always consult their own state's laws on matters concerning identification of persons with covered faces. (more...)

Handling an Attorney-in-Fact Notarization

by American Association of Notaries
A power of attorney is a legally binding document that grants a specified person, called an attorney-in-fact, power over someone else's assets, legal-decision making, real estate transactions, and medical decisions in the event the individual is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. A valid power of attorney requires two parties: the principal, who is the person signing and granting the power of attorney to another person, and the agent (sometimes called attorney-in-fact), who is the person given the power to act on behalf of the principal. (more...)

Notaries and the Unauthorized Practice of Law

by American Association of Notaries
Unless a notary is also a licensed attorney, he or she may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice. In civil-law jurisdictions, and in most common-law jurisdictions outside the United States, notaries are essentially lawyers who have extensive training in the drafting of documents. However, American common-law notaries do not have any legal authority unless they happen to also be a licensed attorney. As a result, it would be considered unauthorized practice of law for a non-attorney notary to give legal advice. (more...)

Can a Notary Use a Signature Stamp to Notarize Documents?

by American Association of Notaries
Most notaries are accustomed to using a stamp to affix their official statement of authority as a notary public. This leads notaries to wonder if they can also utilize a rubber stamp, which is easier to use, in affixing their signature to notarial certificates. If you are a notary who notarizes multiple documents a day, using a signature stamp can be a tempting way to avoid hand cramping and carpal tunnel. However, laws that regulate the acts of notaries are often very strict. This includes using a facsimile signature stamp in lieu of a handwritten or wet signature. (more...)

Blind, Illiterate, and Disabled Signers

by American Association of Notaries
While it may be inconvenient to notarize documents for signers who are blind or illiterate, it is discriminatory to refuse to do so based solely on the disability of a signer. Notaries might not encounter these situations frequently, but it is important to know how to handle them. As state law often dictates specific procedures for interacting with illiterate or blind signers, you should consult your own state's laws to ensure compliance. This article will provide a general overview of how to handle these and other situations. (more...)

What is a Commissioner of Deeds?

by American Association of Notaries
A commissioner of deeds, like a notary public, is a public officer who can take acknowledgments and administer oaths. However, unlike notaries, commissioners of deeds can exercise their duties outside the state in which they are appointed, and their power is typically limited to authenticating documents intended to be used or recorded in the state of appointment. (more...)
Listed in: Duties of a Notary

A Notary Official Signature

by American Association of Notaries
The most critical element on a notarized document is the notary signature. The lack of a notary signature is fatal to the notarization. It is essential that the notary sign every notarial certificate that he or she notarizes. (more...)

How Much to Charge for Mobile Notary Services?

by American Association of Notaries
This is a somewhat sticky question for most mobile notaries. Why? Because how much you charge depends on a number of factors. (more...)
Listed in: Notary Fees

Why Notaries Cannot Notarize Their Own Documents

by American Association of Notaries
It seems so simple. You're about to purchase some real property, and a number of the documents require notarization. You're a notary (and you obviously know who you are), so why not notarize your own document? There are two primary reasons why notaries public should never notarize their own document: (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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