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Things to Know About Notaries

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Notary publics act as official witnesses. They are appointed by state governments and perform tasks that prevent or deter fraudulent activities.

Documents

Notaries witness the signing of official documents, including financial, business and legal documents. For example, they must witness wills, powers of attorney and court documents; articles of incorporation and business contracts; and loan and mortgage documents. However, these professionals don’t just witness document signing, they also verify the authenticity of documents.  

Tools

Notaries must have at least one of the following tools: a metal embosser seal or self-inking notary stamp. These notary seals include the notary’s commission information and they must be used on ever document the notary witnesses. Notaries are responsible for not only purchasing, but also securing these tools. These individuals must also keep a record of each notary task they complete. This journal must be kept in a secured location.

Types

A notary can be either a civil- or common-law notary. Civil-law notaries are licensed lawyers. They are allowed to provide legal advice in addition to offering notary services. Common-law notaries are not lawyers, and as such, cannot give their clients legal advice.

Other Services

Notaries also administer oaths and accept acknowledgements of deeds. They also protest financial documents, such as bills of exchange and notes. These professionals take declarations and affidavits. They may also provide copy certification of official documents.

Becoming a Notary

Each state has different qualifications for becoming a notary. Therefore, those interested in becoming notaries should contact their Secretary of State. They will have to pay a fee along with their completed application and may be required to sit for an exam. Then, they will be sworn in and receive their commission. Errors and Omissions Insurance, background checks or training may also be required in some states.

You can earn extra money or make a living as a mobile notary. If you are interested in this type of work, consider becoming a notary.