What happens if you get a business agreement or crucial medical proxy directive in New York, but you have to travel to Virginia to have a notary notarize these documents? You might wonder whether such a notarial act is allowed or if there are separate rules that govern where a notarial act occurs.
With an out-of-state notary, you can take care of all your notarization needs, even when you’re in a different state. Out-of-state notaries are critical in many situations where you cannot get back to your home state to have a document notarized.
However, many notaries are limited in terms of where a notarial act takes place. So what is the solution?
Each state’s laws govern notarization for out-of-state documents, so you and your notary will have to analyze the state law and decide whether you can legally get your documents notarized.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of out-of-state notarization and the process involved when your documents were issued in another state.
What Is a Notarial Act?
Any service a notary is authorized to perform is a notarial act. Common notarial acts include administering oaths and taking acknowledgments. When a notary public provides a service, they’ll always use their notarial certificate.
Before a notary public issues a notarial certificate, they will certify the document’s authenticity, the signers’ identity, and their willingness to sign it. The notarial certificate verifies the truth of the notarial act. It will have a notary seal or notary stamp and is valid in the eyes of the law.
You will need to notarize important financial, legal, or real estate documents. A notarial act provides satisfactory evidence to prove that no one agreed to the document under duress and that the signatories are who they say they are. If the documents are not notarized, they will not be valid or accepted by the other party.
When a court sees a notarized document, they know it’s legal. Sometimes, documents are notarized in front of a credible witness who also verifies the signer’s signature and identity.
What Is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a person who has been certified by the state to notarize documents. The state government, usually the Secretary of State, appoints them to act as an impartial witness and verify document authenticity. These notarial acts protect the state against fraud.
A notary can certify a document’s authenticity and state that an agreement was made consensually, but they cannot provide legal advice.
Why You May Need an Out-of-State Notary
Most of the time, people make a notarization request in their home state. The signer appears before the notary, and the verification process begins.
All this occurs in the state where the document was issued, which means it was in-state. But there are some situations where you might have a document issued in one state, and you need to notarize it in another.
This can happen with business agreements, medical proxies, real estate documents, vehicle purchases, and more.
An out-of-state notarization stretches across multiple states and needs to consider each state’s laws. Every state has laws that govern out-of-state notarizations for mortgage documents, wills, and other agreements.
Some states might allow an out-of-state notarization to happen, and others might not, so it is crucial to understand a state’s law before entering into a notary agreement.
A notary public can only notarize documents in their jurisdiction, which is generally the notary’s state. So, for example, you cannot hire a California notary to travel and notarize out-of-state documents in Texas.
Common Documents That Need Notarization
Various documents require in or out-of-state notarization. They are important financial, real estate, medical, or legal documents and contracts that can be legally binding and have a huge impact on someone’s life. As such, those entering into such agreements need to verify each other’s identities to protect themselves from fraud.
The notary will take all parties through the notarization process for all these documents.
#1: Auto Loans and Sales
When you’re purchasing or selling a car, you want to ensure there is no identity theft or credit fraud involved. Auto notary services help you reduce the likeliness of fraud. This type of notarization is beneficial to the dealership and the buyer.
#2: Real Estate Transactions
A notary public can notarize real estate documents. A notary’s seal turns a signed agreement into a legal document. Since so many documents are required for buying or selling homes, a notary can help you ensure all your paperwork is official and properly signed.
#3: Mortgage Documents
When entering into a mortgage agreement, everything has to be done properly. That’s why a notary is required. A notary can certify first and second mortgages, provide loan closing services, serve as a signature witness, and more.
Serving subpoenas is a critical part of many legal proceedings. Notaries provide the necessary services that ensure all state and county rules are followed when serving someone with a legal document.
#5: Structured Settlements
Affidavits and other documents all need to be notarized for structured settlements to an accident or when someone buys the right to an annuity that settles a disability claim. All parties whose finances will be affected must sign these documents and have the documents notarized to verify everything is in order.
#6: Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is an important document that allows one person to make decisions for another person who is not physically present. Because of the legal weight that it carries, a notary has to validate these documents.
#7: Medical Documents and Healthcare Proxies
When it comes to medical documents, incorrect information can be detrimental. These documents can designate a person to make medical decisions on behalf of another or validate a patient’s medical wishes. A notary should issue the notarial certificate so these documents will be accepted.
#8: Business Agreements
Although business agreements do not always necessitate a notary, it’s wise to go through the process, especially if the agreement involves entities in different states.
#9: Wills, Trusts, and Deeds
A deceased person’s wishes need to be authenticated by a notary for a deed, will, or trust to be valid. Since the person cannot be physically present, a notary public must notarize a document, usually, the original document signed by the still living individual, to make it unquestionable.
Which States Allow Out-of-State Notarial Acts?
A notary public will sometimes perform out-of-state notarizations. This could be due to a situation that transcends geographical boundaries or because it is not recommended for the signers to be in a notary’s presence, for example, during a global pandemic.
Since state governments understand that there can be times when a person can’t access a notary to perform notarial acts in their home state, 34 states have approved out-of-state notarization.
This topic does not fall under federal law, so each state has the autonomy to decide whether to allow such notarization or not. If the notary is within their commission, most states allow the notarization of a document from another state.
Currently, the states that allow out-of-state and remote notary services are:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
In addition to these states, the states of New York, Illinois, and New Hampshire are in the process of approving out-of-state notarization laws.
Is Online Notarization Allowed in Every State?
In addition to out-of-state notarization, some states also allow remote online notarization. This type of notarization is similar to out-of-state, except that people can request a notary from any state, no matter where the document originated. How does it work?
- You and the notary public meet through audio/video call, and you send your documents.
- You can be in a different state or a bordering state, but you should get the documents notarized by a notary within the borders of their commissioning state or jurisdiction. For example, you can be in Texas, and your notary can be in California, but the notary has to be allowed to practice in California.
- The notary proceeds to notarize out-of-state documents.
- The notary records the notarization to ensure that everything occurred according to the law.
- The notary must always require and authenticate the signer’s identity.
- You can sign using digital signatures and check which jurisdictions accept such a signature.
- You get a digital notary certificate. You should check the states and counties that accept digital copies of the notarized document. For example, only three counties in West Virginia accept digital copies, while all of Hawaii accepts them.
How to Notarize Documents Out-of-State?
Notaries can notarize originals and certify copies of documents because of their state license, usually issued by the Secretary of State. A notary can only provide services in his or her commission, and if they live in one state and work in another, they could hold a notary seal in both states.
When in-person, you can notarize documents out-of-state, but only in the state where the notary is licensed.
So, for example, you can travel from North Carolina to Michigan and have a Michigan notary notarize a document. However, the Michigan notary cannot travel to North Carolina to notarize your documents.
To a notary, it is not important where the documents come from. What matters is whether they are legally allowed to practice in the state they are in when providing the service. So you can notarize documents in any state, but your notary has to be licensed for that particular state.
So how can a notary notarize documents out-of-state?
The notarization process is similar to in-state notarization, but each state has its own nuanced rules. The only difference with out-of-state notaries is that they will always ask to authenticate your identity, even if the notarial process does not require it.
In the notarial certificate, you should make sure that the “venue” is the state the notarial act takes place, even if it is for an out-of-state document. With the exception of Kentucky, all other state notaries can notarize documents and record them in their states. But in Kentucky, notaries can only notarize documents that will be recorded in Kentucky.
Is There a Difference in the Notary Process if States Are Bordering Each Other?
In some states, a notary public is allowed to practice in multiple states. These states are usually bordering states that have similar laws.
A few states, such as Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, allow their notaries public to practice in a bordering state. So a notary public in North Dakota can notarize documents in both Wyoming and Montana.
If a notary public is licensed in other states, they have geographical boundaries that they need to respect when practicing.
What You Need to Consider for an Out-of-State Notarization
Before you go out of state to get a document notarized and to get the notarial certificate, you should take into consideration the different rules that apply in that particular state. Notaries are only allowed to notarize documents if they’ve verified that you meet certain requirements and rules.
Here are a few documents you should have with you at your out-of-state notarization to ensure you can meet these requirements.
You must have a government-issued identification document with your picture, name, issuing authority, and description. The description could be your eye color, hair color, height, and other basic characteristics. A passport or a driver’s license is sufficient identification for a notary to be allowed to notarize documents.
Every state has a set notary fee or a range that notaries public are legally allowed to charge. Ask beforehand how much the notarization process will cost so you can bring the appropriate amount of money.
You should bring the document that you want to notarize. Make sure the document has the correct information, or the notary public will not notarize it. Fill out the entire document but leave the signature blank so the notary can witness you signing it.
Check if you need to have other witnesses or if someone else needs to sign the document as well. It’s best if all parties are present, and each one of them will incur individual fees. Remember that if you choose to notarize a document in one state, a co-signer cannot notarize it in another state if the rules differ.
If you want to use remote online notarization, there won’t be much difference in the process. You will have the chance to meet and work with your notary from anywhere in the world, so it’s an easy and convenient service.
If you work with a notary and have a complaint, you can file the complaint by mail, so you don’t have to travel to your notary’s state to file it. If through the complaint, you are seeking some form of compensation, then you should consider hiring an attorney to work with you.
All in all, a notary can provide notarization services and remote notarization as long as they are within their state’s jurisdiction and abide by their state’s laws. So you can get an out-of-state notary with the condition that the notary is allowed to work in that particular state.
Out-of-state notarization is allowed in 34 states, and remote notarization is allowed in 30 states. A notary can notarize a document from another state if you send the document to a location within their notary commission. This means that the notary is performing the notarization in the state that they are licensed to practice.
One way to get efficient out-of-state notarization is through mobile notary services from Superior Notary Services. At SNS, you don’t have to worry about finding an out-of-state notary.
We have more than 500,000 notaries available throughout the country, so you will be matched with an available and commissioned notary public that can notarize your documents in no time. You get safety, convenience, and reliability. That’s what Superior Notary Services offers to all its clients.