Legal Advice

Why Documents May Require Notarization

A document may require notarization to deter fraud, ensure its proper execution and that signers understand the agreements they are entering. Therefore, a notary’s official embossed seal and signature must appear on specific documents.

How Do You Notarize a Document?

You can find a notary to sign your document at most banks. These institutions usually have a notary on their premises because they deal with many documents requiring notarization. A bank may charge a small fee for this service if you do not have an account. You will need to physically appear before a notary along with official identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. The notary will also confirm that you understand what you are about to sign and go through a series of state-mandated steps necessary for a valid notarization.

What Documents Require Notarization?

You will need a notary signature when you enter into various financial agreements. Mortgages, deeds, loans and credit agreements are examples of financial documents that require notarization. These documents contain sensitive information that may become a target of fraudulent activity. A notary signature can keep financial data from falling into the wrong hands.

Legal documents may also require notarization to legitimize specific terms. Examples include estate planning documents such as wills, trusts, executorships, advanced directives and custody agreements. In addition, a notary signature that confirms a party’s willingness to enter an agreement can help eliminate potential disputes about a contract’s validity.

Various business documents also require a notary’s signature, and many businesses can benefit from having a notary on their staff. For example, real estate, insurance and construction companies, and car dealerships are among the many companies that can benefit from having staff members perform notary duties. This in-house service can facilitate the speedy execution of paperwork and avoid inconveniencing clients who may need to travel elsewhere to notarize their documents.

When Should a Notary Refuse to Sign a Document?

The primary purpose of notarization is to prevent fraud. Therefore, notaries must refuse to sign a document when they suspect the person requesting the service is unaware of the contents of the paper they are signing, is signing it unwillingly or does not speak the same language. Also, notaries must never sign documents with inaccurate dates, unoriginal or missing pages or without notarial certificates.

On the other hand, notaries who refuse to provide a signature due to personal biases surrounding documents’ contents or the people requesting a signature would be breaching their duties.

Document notarization requirements may vary by state, but they always protect public interests.

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