What Items Require A Notary?
You’re probably aware that certain transactions and items require notary services to execute the necessary documents. However, there are many scenarios where a notary public is not required by law, even though there are many compelling reasons that verification services would be beneficial to all involved parties. When you consider the purposes of using a notary public, you can see that there are advantages of having one in certain transactions – despite the lack of a legal requirement.
Purposes of Retaining a Notary:
The role of the notary public is to verify the true identity of parties executing important documents, to assess their willingness to sign under their own free will and to ensure that the signatories are aware of the contents of the documents. In doing so, the notary professional helps reduce the risk of fraud in various transactions. A notary public is duty-bound to be impartial in notarizing documents, so all screening tasks must be conducted without self-interest. Transactions that require notary services vary by state, but commonly include:
- Documents conveying title to real estate, including the mortgage and other agreements between a buyer and seller;
- Wills, trusts and certain estate planning documents;
- Prenuptial agreements;
- Structured settlement documents;
- Powers of attorney for property; and,
- Healthcare powers of attorney;
The Notarization Process:
There are five essential factors for notary services:
- The parties must be physically present.
- The notary will verify what the document is and ensuring it’s complete (i.e., no blank spaces).
- The notary will screen the signers’ identity and make sure they’re signing of their own free will.
- In some states, the notary professional will record the transaction in their journal.
- Applying the notarial seal and certification.
When to Consider a Notary for Document Execution:
In addition to those transactions where a notarization is legally required, there are other circumstances where you may want to consider retaining notary services. The notarization process is intended to help reduce the risk of fraud, so employing a notary professional would be useful in any situation where there’s a potential for fraud. Some examples would be:
- Purchasing a car to verify title and ownership;
- Online transactions for sale and purchase of products;
- Agreements for personal loans; and,
- Business agreements.
In general, use a notary for any life-changing, important document where verifying the identities of the parties and their willingness to sign is critical to ensuring a smooth transaction. Retaining the services of a notary public is a small price to pay when considering the alternative: You stand to lose considerably – whether it be money, personal rights or other interests – if fraud is present.
Whether your circumstances require notarization will depend on the laws of your state, but – regardless of the legal standards – there are benefits to retaining a notary public in certain transactions. Prevention of fraud is key and notaries greatly reduce the risk of falsification of documents and/or identity. When you do decide to work with notary services, make sure to choose a company that provides premium customer care and will ensure proper execution of all documents.