Notary Services for the Internet Age
Advancements in technology have enabled us to move beyond a simple purchase of a product online. These days, internet users are able to arrange a home mortgage, obtain a car loan, draft a will and complete other transactions that we never thought would be possible a few years ago. However, despite the ease of handling business online, there are still legal standards that require notary services to execute relevant paperwork. Plus, there are a number of reasons that you should consider retaining a notary public – even if it’s not required by law. Here’s why we still need notary services in the internet age.
The Notary Public’s Role:
A notary public is a person appointed by state government to act as an impartial witness in the execution of important documents. The intent of notarization is to deter fraud by those signing paperwork, so proper verification of identity is a key task for notary services. A notary also assesses the signatory’s willingness to sign the document without threats or intimidation, and ensures that the signer is aware of the contents of the paperwork.
When looking at the functions of a notary public, you can see why the role is still essential in the Internet Age: These tasks must be performed by the notary while in the physical presence of the signatory. Obviously, this isn’t the case for online transactions, so notary services aren’t going away.
A Notary Public May Be Required by Law:
There are certain documents that must be notarized by law, even if the majority of the transaction, negotiations and communications take place online. The exact requirements vary by state, but you’ll likely need notary services to execute:
- Documents related to the conveyance of a real estate, including the mortgage, deed and any other agreements;
- Wills, trusts and certain estate planning documents;
- Prenuptial agreements;
- Structured settlement documents;
- Powers of attorney for property;
- Healthcare powers of attorney; and,
- Others according to state law.
Other Times to Consider Notary Services:
Fraud is widespread in online transactions, so there are situations where you might retain a notary public to ensure a document signer is who they claim to be. Retaining a notary professional would be useful in such online transactions as:
- The purchase/sale of a vehicle, to verify title and ownership;
- Online transactions for the purchase/sale of expensive products;
- Agreements for personal loans; and,
- Business agreements.
In general, consider retaining the services of a notary public whenever the risk of fraud is present – whether online or not.
The convenience and speed of completing transactions online appeal to many people who want to transact business via the internet. But it’s important to understand that legal requirements for notary services don’t go away simply because documents can be executed online. There are also benefits to retaining a notary – even when not required under the law – in order to protect yourself from fraud. Contact a notary public directly for more information on the laws in your state and other requirements for completing online transactions.
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