Having a document notarized is a straightforward process for the most part. You bring the notary the document, he or she verifies your identity, and then the notary watches as you sign it. To ensure the process goes as planned, though, you’ll need to bring a few basic items to the signing.
You can’t expect a notary public to perform the desired notarial act unless you bring him or her the document. Check to make sure the document is intact and ready for notarization, with every field complete except for your signature. Most notarial acts require the signer to sign the document in the physical presence of the notary, so hold off on signing your document until you reach the notary’s office.
One of the duties of a notary public is to verify the signer’s identify. The notary must check to make sure the signer is in fact who they say they are. The purpose of verifying the signer’s identify is to prevent fraud, which is particularly important for sensitive financial documents like grants and wills.
Acceptable forms of identification for notarial acts varies depending on the notary’s state of commission, but most states allow the use of a driver’s license, state-issued identification cards, and military IDs. Check with either the notary or your state’s Secretary Office to determine which forms of identification are accepted.
Don’t forget to bring the notary public’s payment when you go to his or her office. Fees vary depending on the state, the notarial act, and what the notary wishes to charge. There are maximum limits defined by the state on how much a notary can charge for each act. In California, for instance, a notary public may not charge more than $10 for each notarized signature.
If you are habitually forgetful or worried that you’ll leave your identification, the document, or the notary public’s payment behind, you can always choose to hire the services of a mobile notary instead. Rather than commuting to his or her office, the notary will come to you to perform the service. Mobile notaries are allowed to charge more than standard notaries, so keep this in mind when deciding whether or not it’s the right choice.
Even if you choose to hire a mobile notary, you should still gather your document, have an acceptable form of identification on hand, and be ready to pay the notary for his or her service. Schedule a time and location for the signing and prepare these items in advance.