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What Is a Notary Public?
Notaries public are considered public officers of the states in which they are appointed. Notaries are appointed by the State, owe allegiance to the State, and take an oath of office in which they swear to support, protect, and defend the constitution of the State and of the United States.... Continue Reading
What is a Notario Publico?
In its simplest form, the term notario publico translates to notary public. On a deeper level, however, the difference between a notario publico and a U.S. notary public is vast, and therefore it can be problematic for notaries to use this particular terminology in the United States. While a notary public in the United States is authorized to perform specific notarial acts and practice limited discretion, a notario publico in many Latin American countries is an individual who has received the equivalent of a law license and who is authorized to represent others before the government.... Continue Reading
Steps to a Proper Notarization Practicing Law Without a License Advertisement Foreign Language Documents What Does a Notary Do?
An affidavit is a sworn or affirmed statement made before a notary public or any public official who has the authority to administer oaths. It is made under penalty of perjury, and the official must administer an oath or affirmation to the signer(s), witness the signing of the document and certify it by placing his official signature and seal and completing the notarial certificate called a jurat.... Continue Reading
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What to Do When There Is No Pre-Printed Notary Certificate
If you provide notary services long enough, you will encounter people who have letters or statements or other documents that lack a pre-printed notary certificate. These are often the result of someone being told that they need a notarized statement or release or authorization in order to accomplish some purpose they have chosen.... Continue Reading
Notarial Certificates Handling Difficult Notarization Practicing Law Without a License What Does a Notary Do?
Notary Journals Raise Issues about Public Records versus Privacy
Notaries public have access to many items of personal information in order to do a proper job of notarizing. We have to see the entire document to make sure the signer is able to freely and willingly sign. We have to briefly review the document to gather some specifics to record in our notary journals. We have to examine the satisfactory evidence presented that establishes the identity of the signer and record details of that evidence in our journals. Other specific information about the circumstances of the notarization (as covered in other articles in this series) has to be written into the journal as well.... Continue Reading
How to Handle Documents with Pre-Printed Notarial Certificates
If a document has a pre-printed notarial certificate, that certificate serves two purposes:... Continue Reading
The Contents of a Notary Journal
There are three primary types of notary journals. One has minimal space per entry; one has more generous space per entry but fewer entries per page; and one is designed for notary signing agents and has frequently-seen real estate documents pre-listed in it. Each of these three types can be found in paperback or hardback. Which type you choose is your decision. It is important to see a sample page of the journal before you buy it, as you will be using it for some time.... Continue Reading
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Why a Notary Journal Is Required
Almost no one likes to do paperwork, especially if they don't have to do it. So, if you tell them that paperwork is not required, most people will be happy to believe you and skip it. When it comes to the notary journal, skipping the paperwork is not an option. Keeping a notary journal is required for the following reasons:... Continue Reading
Notary Stamp and Supplies Notary Journals Steps to a Proper Notarization Duties of a Notary What Does a Notary Do?
Notary Public Seals or Stamps
The need for a trusted and impartial witness who can write down commercial and other agreements has been recognized since the time of the ancient Romans, who created the office of notarius or scribii to fulfill this need. If the parties to the agreement could not write, they used a metal or clay disk with a distinctive design or coat of arms (a private seal) pressed into melted wax in place of a signature. In the following centuries, as paper making became more widespread and written agreements became longer, the pages of a document were bound together by making holes in the margins, tying the pages together with a ribbon, and pouring wax over the ribbon's knot. If the document were to be notarized, the notary would press his official seal into the wax, thereby sealing the pages of the document together.... Continue Reading
A Notary Signature is Essential on All Notarized Documents
The most critical of the five notary-specific elements 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 always signs every notarial certificate that he or she notarizes. By signing the notary certificate, a notary is verifying that the venue, notary commission expiration date, and the notary certificate are true and correct.... Continue Reading
Notary Best Practices Steps to a Proper Notarization Maintaining Your Notary Commission What Does a Notary Do?
The Importance of Including Your Notary's Commission Expiration Date on Notarized Documents
A notarial certificate indicates what actions the document's preparer wants the notary to perform. The venue states that the notarization took place in a particular location that lies within the jurisdiction of the notary public. The presence of a notary commission expiration date shows that the document was notarized at a time when the notary held authority to notarize.... Continue Reading
Steps to a Proper Notarization Maintaining Your Notary Commission Notary Commission What Does a Notary Do?
Essential Facts about Notary Certificates
A notary certificate is a statement completed by the notary specifying the details of the notarization. It must contain the date of the notarization and refer to where the notarial act took place. The most commonly used notarial certificates are jurats and acknowledgments. (There is a third form in those states that allow notaries to certify copies. Please see the articles about certifying copies for information on that form.)... Continue Reading
The Importance of the Venue on a Notarized Document
With a few exceptions, notarized documents contain five notary-specific elements: venue, the notary certificate, commission expiration date, notary signature, and notary seal. This article covers the venue.... Continue Reading
A Notary Should Know How to Handle Acknowledged Statements
As stated in a previous article, sworn statements and acknowledged statements are the two most common types of notarized documents. The primary difference between the two types is that a sworn statement is made under penalty of perjury and requires an oath or affirmation while an acknowledged statement lacks these elements. If a document does not contain language about being duly sworn or upon oath, and if it has a notary certificate that does not mention an oath or affirmation or being sworn, then you are dealing with an acknowledged statement.... Continue Reading
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Notaries Should Know How to Handle Sworn Statements
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.... Continue Reading
What it Means to Sign a Document Freely and Willingly
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.... Continue Reading
Verifying the Identity of the Signer
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.... Continue Reading
Personal Appearance of the Signer Before a Notary Is Required
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.... Continue Reading
Notary Serves as an Official Witness to Transactions
A notary public is an official witness. To serve as an official witness, you must follow several important steps.... Continue Reading
What Does A Notary Public Do?
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.... Continue Reading
Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. 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 notaries' best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss or consequential loss out of or in connection with the use of the information contained in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states' notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.
Conflict of Interest 
Copy Certification 
Duties of a Notary 
Foreign Language Documents 
Handling Difficult Notarization 
How to Become a Notary 
I-9 Forms 
Maintaining Your Notary Commission 
Membership to Notary Association 
Mobile Notary 
Notarial Certificates 
Notary & Employer 
Notary Best Practices 
Notary Bonds 
Notary Commission 
Notary Courses - Online Course 
Notary Errors and Omissions Insurance 
Notary Fees 
Notary Journals 
Notary Laws 
Notary Locator 
Notary News 
Notary Stamp and Supplies 
Practicing Law Without a License 
Privacy & Security 
Remote Online Notarization - (RONS) 
Signing Agent 
Steps to a Proper Notarization 
What Does a Notary Do? 
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