With over 4.5 million state-appointed public notaries in the U.S., choosing one to perform a service can be a challenge. Whether the service involves an estate, deed, power of attorney or any other document that requires notarizing, you want to choose the candidate best suited for the job. Just because he or she touts the “Certified Public Notary” doesn’t necessarily mean they are fitted for your particular needs.
Find out where the public notary is located before agreeing to purchase their notarial services. Ideally, you want to choose a notary that’s in close proximity to your location in order to reduce travel time. Purchasing the services of a notary that’s located on the other side of town (or in a completely different town) is a waste of your time and gas, especially if you’re forced to make followup meetings. A quick search on Google Maps or your preferred GPS device will reveal the estimated travel time between you and the notary.
#2) Specialization / Qualification
Check the notary’s qualifications to ensure they are a good fit for your needs. Most notaries display their qualifications and any specialty fields on their website, business cards, service description, etc. If you require notarial services for legal documents, for instance, you’ll probably want to choose someone with an educational and/or professional background in law. Doing so reduces the risk of error while encouraging a smooth service for both parties involved.
Always check a public notary’s fees before agreeing to pay for his or her services. Each state has its own cap on how much a notary can legally charge for his or her services. Check the Secretary of State’s website for your respective state to determine this limit. It’s important to note, however, that this is merely a limit, not the actual cost of service.
Mobile notaries are legally allowed to charge “convenience fees,” so you can expect to pay significantly more for their services. A typical mobile notary may charge a convenience fee of $40-$150 in addition to the actual cost of service.
#4) Association Membership
Association membership is something else you should look for when selecting a public notary. Various notary associations require their members, whom are notaries, to meet certain criteria involving work hours, education and training. You can rest assured knowing that a notary is well trained if he or she is an active member of an esteemed notary association. Just
Can you easily reach the notary on his or phone? If not, you may want to look elsewhere for your notarial services. If you find yourself in a crunch and need to contact the public notary whom performed a service on your document, you want them to be just a phone call away. Seasoned notaries acknowledge the importance of open communication and place an emphasis on making themselves available to clients.