Why do I need to notarize a document?

For most people, legal experience is not a common thing. Drawing up and signing agreements or entering into any kind of legal transaction can be daunting because if done incorrectly, there can be major consequences. To protect the party in the transaction that has less legal experience, notarization makes the agreements binding and enforceable.

Notarization has a legal impact because it turns your private document into a public instrument.  This prevents any unlawful actions from any other parties involved. It also enforces the accountability of those involved to hold up their end of the agreement and make sure that the transaction goes smoothly.


Notarization and its Importance                 

In order to ensure the authenticity of a document, having it notarized is a must. It protects all parties privy to a transaction. Anyone needing to notarize a document should bring the document to the notary to be signed as well as a valid photo ID. Or if you are lucky, you may live in a city where there are mobile notaries. If the document requires additional witnesses, those witnesses should also be present. The signatory should also bring any fees required for the notary service.

It is the responsibility of the Notary Public to ensure that the signers have appeared before them and they produced proper identification. They serve as a neutral witness in the signing of the document. The signature of a notary means that an independent party with no interest in the document has verified the document’s and the person’s authenticity.

However, it is not the job of the Notary Public to read through the document and make sure that everything is in order. They are not obligated to alert you to any problems that you might be signing up for and they do not offer legal advice. All they do is verify that you signed it and when it was signed.


How do I notarize my document?

To get a document notarized you must go to a notary public, prove your identity, and sign the document.

Bring Official Identification

You need to prove that you are really who you say you are. Presenting an Identification Card that is on the list of accepted I.D.s, typically government-issued ones like a driver’s license or a passport will be sufficient, is the first step to getting your document notarized.

Sign in the presence of the Notary Public

The document you bring to get notarized must be unsigned. The notary needs to witness the physical act of you signing it for them to verify the document.

Pay the Fees

It is not necessary to spend money to get your document notarized. They are places like the county clerk’s office that will do it for free but the downside is that you might have to wait a while because you aren’t the only person taking advantage of the opportunity to not pay to get your document notarized. There are other places you can go to like private institutions that can do it faster but you typically have to pay a fee of around $20.


Where can I get my documents notarized?

There are several places where you can get your documents notarized, most of them owned privately. You can check at your local bank or credit union if you’re an account holder. You could also check shipping stores like FedEx and UPS. Tax and law firms usually have a notary on retainer so you can ask your lawyer if they can notarize in-house. If you still can’t find one in your area, you can have your documents notarized online but you need to check if it is an accepted practice first.