What is notarization? The National Notary Association defines it as, "The official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic, and can be trusted. It is a three-part process, performed by a Notary Public, that includes of vetting, certifying and record-keeping." To complete a notarization, there are guidelines and restrictions which notaries must follow. Below are some common misconceptions and the facts about notaries:
Fiction – Anyone can be a notary public.
Fact: Qualifications vary by state, but typically, an individual must meet the following requirements to be eligible to become a notary:
- A legal adult, at least 18 years old
- A legal resident of the state
- No criminal record
There may be additional requirements which vary by state.
Fiction – A notary public can help me complete my documents and give me advice about them.
Fact: Notaries are prohibited from giving legal advice to signers or acting as a legal advisor unless he or she is also an attorney.
Fiction – Notaries have to notarize my documents.
Fact – A notary may refuse service for the following reasons:
- The signer’s identity cannot be verified
- The signer is not willing to sign the documents
- The signer does not appear to be voluntarily signing
- There is a valid reason to suspect fraud
However, notaries cannot refuse service based on ethnicity, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or refuse to notarize documents for people who are not customers.
Fiction – Notaries can set thier own fees for service.
Fact – Notary fees are usually set by state law, and the charges vary by state. The only exception is for a mobile notary, who may charge an additional fee for traveling. Traveling fees are not regulated by the state.
Fiction – A “Notario publico” is the same as “notary public.”
Fact: In Latin America, a notario publico is a high-ranking official, like a judge or an attorney, whereas in the U.S., a notary public cannot prepare legal documents or give legal advice.
Most Parcel Plus locations offer the services of a commissioned and insured Notary Public. Notary services are usually available during store business hours, and some locations offer mobile Notary services. If you need to get documents notarized, visit our Store Locator to find the Parcel Plus nearest you.
Source: National Notary Association