Some time in your life, you may need to get a document notarized. This means that you need to get a document authenticated, verified, or certified that it is legally acceptable. This is accomplished by a notary officer or a notary public, who has gone training and certification to witness you signing some legal document. Here is where and how to get something notarized, as well as the cost of getting something notarized.
What Does It Mean to Get Something Notarized?
Getting a document notarized means:
That you have proven to the notary who you are,
That you sign a document in the presence of a notary public,
And that you are signing the document voluntarily.
Not all documents need to be notarized. However, may institutions, such as banks, and court systems require most documents to be notarized.
The role of a Notary Public is to first verify the identity of the individual signing a document. He will also make sure that the signatory understands what the document he is signing is all about.
Getting a document notarized does NOT mean:
A notarized document signifies that the signature that appears on a document is authentic. However, the notary is not required to read or evaluate the document and to alert you about any problems contained in the document.
Where to Get Your Document Notarized
You can have your documents notarized in various places. You can search online by googling “notary public” or you can just search your own neighborhood for such service. Banks, financial institutions, law offices, tax preparers, car dealers, and many other offices may have a notary officer who can do the service for a fee.
How to Get Something Notarized
What are the steps to notarization?
Be ready to present valid identification to the Notary. This may be a valid ID with a photo that was issued by a government office.
The Notary will ensure that you understand what you are about to sign and can attest to it.
The Notary Public acts as a witness while you sign the document.
Once signed, the Notary affixes his stamp (“seal”) to the document, which is then considered notarized.
Things you should know
Notarization is equivalent to swearing under oath in a legal court that the facts stated in the document are true to your knowledge.
Some documents cannot be notarized. These include separation agreements or agreements that fall outside a notary’s area of practice. In these cases, seek a lawyer’s advice.
Aside from verifying your identity, the notary is expected to note that you are signing a document willingly and not under duress or coercion. He must refuse to validate your signature if coercion is used. The notary must also ensure that you are in a stable mental condition to truly understand what you are about to sign. This means that he should refuse to notarize your document if you are signing it while you are medicated, intoxicated, or unable to understand what is happening.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Something Notarized?
The cost of getting something notarized depends on various factors. These include the type of document involved, the number of signatures included, and the notary fees allowed by each state. Notaries have to spend for their operations, study to keep up with changing state laws, and keep records, so you may be asked to pay a fee. The fee may range from as low as $5 to as high as $20.
To know more about how to get something notarized:
Ask at the City Hall. Local government offices such as the City Hall need to notarize documents daily. Ask if their office has notary services available for the public.
Try your local mailing center or post office. Many legal documents travel through mail every day and some of these require notarization. Ask them if they offer notary services.
Find a notary in school. Schools often employ certified notaries for their documents. If they do not have a notary, they may help you find a notary in the area to help you.