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Discrimination


A notary refused to notarize the signature of my 79-year-old mother even though my mother is in her right mind. Can a notary legally discriminate against the elderly?

Notaries should not be discriminating against anyone when providing notarial services. However, notaries should ask questions when notarizing for an elder person in order to judge that person’s mental state, especially if the signer is on any medication that might affect his or her mental condition or status. Asking a signer about the past and present circumstances helps the notary to see if the signer can maintain participation. If a notary is still unsure about the signer’s mental status, willingness, or alertness, the notary shouldn’t notarize the document. Notaries might have to trust their judgment. It is a judgment call on the part of the notary.

There is a notary in the Spanish community who only notarizes for non-English signers because she is charging them $40 to notarize one document. All other customers, she turns away. Can she discriminate against other individuals who require her notary services?

Notaries should not be discriminating against anyone when providing notarial services. The notary statutes in most states mandate that notaries public may not charge or receive a fee for notary services over the maximum amount prescribed by state statute. The notary public who charges more than the maximum fee may lose his or her notary commission for such official misconduct. Contact the state’s commissioning authority for further information.

A notary is discriminating against anyone who challenges her improper notarizations. How can she be allowed to discriminate under her office as a notary?

Notaries should not be discriminating against anyone when providing notarial services. Violations and unlawful acts of official notary misconduct create civil and criminal liability for the notary public. A notary public is liable to the person involved for all damages caused by his or her official misconduct. Contact your state’s commissioning authority to discuss this matter with them for further instructions.