This is a question that’s often asked by family members of public notaries. If someone is related to a public notary, they may request their services as a discounted price. After all, it’s not uncommon for family members to provide professional services at a reduced price or even free. But notarizing documents for family members is a touchy subject, and you might want to think twice before engaging yourself in such activity.
Why Public Notaries Shouldn’t Notarize For Family Members
The problem that arises when a public notary notarizes a document for a family member is the possibility of direct financial or otherwise beneficial interest. If a public notary notarizes a property deed for his or her parents, for instance, they have a financial interest in the action by default. The same holds true when notarizing wills for family members.
Of course, these are just a few examples of how a public notary could develop a financial interest from performing notarial services for a family member.
Legality of Notarizing For Family Members
Now let’s talk about the legality of notarizing documents for family members. Here in the U.S., public notaries are appointed by a state official, such as the governor, lieutenant governor or state secretary; therefore, laws governing what’s allowed and what’s not vary from state to state.
In California, public notaries are NOT prohibited from notarizing for relatives unless it provides a direct financial or beneficial interest. Direct beneficial interest may include notarizing a financial document of which the public notary is named, or performing any notarial service of which the public notary is named as a beneficiary.
“In California, A notary public is not prohibited from notarizing for relatives or others, unless doing so would provide a direct financial or beneficial interest to the notary public. With California’s community property law, care should be exercised if notarizing for a spouse or a domestic partner. A notary public would have a direct financial or beneficial interest to a transaction in the following situations: (Government Code section 8224)”
Florida, on the other hand, prohibits public notaries from performing notarial services to immediate family members (sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc.).
“A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is to be notarized is the spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father of the notary public.”
Before allowing a family member to notarize a document, check your state laws to ensure it’s legal.