The primary duty of a notary public is to verify the identities of each signer on a document. This is done to protect against fraudulent acts that may otherwise void the notarized document. The notary public typically requests each signer to provide identification that verifies their identity. If the client fails to provide an acceptable form of identification, the notary public is legally obligated to refuse the service. So, what’s considered an “acceptable” form of identification when seeking the services of a notary public?
When it comes to dealing with legal documents and transactions, most states require either a signature guarantee or an official notarization.
Both signature guarantees and notarizations verify the identities of the signing parties, but they serve different roles and require different levels of oversight. Depending on the document you need signed, you’ll need to know the differences between these two closely related roles.
To help you understand whether you’ll need a notary or not, we’ve put together a brief walkthrough of both signature guarantees and notarizations — starting with the importance of these witnesses in the overall scheme of things.
Some professional notaries may find themselves in a position where they need a document notarized. For instance, a notary public may create an advance directive (living will), stating his or her preferences regarding medical care in the event they are unable to make them. Since they are already commissioned as a notary public by their respective state, the notary may assume that’s it’s okay to notarize the advance directive themselves. This would obviously save both time and money, which is why so many notaries bring up this question. So, can a notary public notarize his or her own document?
Let’s face it, not everyone has the time to visit a notary public’s office to have his or her documents notarized. If you’re middle of closing on a mortgage loan, for instance, you’ll probably be confined to the seller’s home or the real estate agent’s office. Thankfully, there are notary publics out there who specialize in on-site notarizations.