Myths About Notary Publics to Debunk: Notaries are the unsung heroes of convenient verification for various legal documents. A notary public’s job is to authenticate documents by verifying the identity and willingness of signers.
Having general knowledge of virtually any document brought to them makes these knowledgeable individuals an invaluable resource. However, there are lingering misconceptions about what a notary can or will do. Here are eight myths about notary publics that might send you back for a second stamp.
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A notary only works during standard business hours
While most people and businesses keep regular operating hours, that is not always the case for notary services. Most independent notaries keep unconventional hours to accommodate a wide range of clients, schedules, and demands. Some notaries are even available on weekends for around-the-clock services and convenience.
For example, mobile notaries are a type of notary that travels to the client rather than the other way around. These notaries also often work outside of typical business hours to accommodate working professionals. If you’re looking for a mobile notary near me, it’s easier to find help than you think.
Notaries can give legal advice
Except for notaries who have passed the Bar examination and have successfully obtained the right to act in a legal capacity, notaries cannot offer legal advice. Please be aware that this lack of legal licensure limits a notary’s ability to advise or draft documents. For legal aid, clients must turn to a licensed attorney.
A notario publico is the same as a notary public
Distinguishing between a notario publico and a notary public is a frequent pain point for some Spanish speakers in the U.S. However, this title is granted to a specific legal service in Latin American countries and exceeds the capacity of a notary public in the United States.
Notary public services are free
Notaries may not charge a direct fee for services rendered, but there is a fee nonetheless. The state in which the notary operates sets a maximum payment for their services. As long as the agent’s price is within the maximum range, a notary may ask for compensation for their aid.
A notary must provide service if asked
Much like any business has the right to deny service, a notary may also decline. In rare instances such as suspicion of fraud, implications of signer duress, and inability to verify the signer, a notary may refuse to authenticate a document.
Anyone can be a notary
Specific regulations vary by state to moderate who can operate as a notary. In general, a notary must be at least eighteen years old, a resident of the state in which they operate, and have no criminal record.
Having a document notarized makes it legal
Notarizing a document proves that the individual(s) who signed the document had their identities verified by the notary. Notary service is valuable for instances when remote verification of identity is necessary.
Neither the signature(s) nor the notarization makes the actual document legal or binding.
Any document can be notarized
You can bring virtually any document to a notary for authentication. However, a notary has no authority to certify or duplicate marriage, death, and birth certificates.
Verification of certificates must come through the government agency that issued them. Clients must also refer to the issuing government agency to obtain copies of these certificates.
Being a notary is far from easy. In addition to meeting regulations to operate within the state, it falls to notaries to understand every step of the verification process for virtually any document. That said, if you have a record that needs verifying, a notary public is there to help you.