A notary form is a document used by a notary public to notarize certain important documents such as a living trust, mortgage, deed, or non-resident affidavit. Notaries public are people who are authorized by the state to carry out the notarization process, which involves:
Determining Identity - Verifying the identity of the person(s) signing the document
Determining Willingness - Authenticating that the person who signed the document did so under their own free will and power
Determining Awareness - Verifying that the signor possessed the mental capacity to understand what he or she was doing by signing the document
In some instances, the notary will also verbally question the signer. For example, if the document requires an oath, the notary may ask, "Do you swear under the penalties of perjury, that the information contained in the document is the truth, so help you God?"
All notary forms must be completed, signed, and stamped by a notary public in order for a signature to be considered authenticated.
A person can obtain a notary commission by:
Making sure you meet all of your state’s qualifications and are following the commission application process (check your state's laws, some states have a Notary Public Act)
Complete and submit a notary application.
Pay the state’s application fee.
Get training from an approved education vendor (if applicable, check with your Secretary of State's Notary Division or Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions).
Pass a state-administered exam (if applicable, notaries in 18 states and the District of Columbia are required to take a course or pass an exam or both).
Complete fingerprinting and background check (if applicable, check with your Secretary of State's office).
Receive your notarial certificate from the state.
Get your surety bond (if applicable).
File your commission paperwork (and bond) with your Notary regulating official.
Buy your Notary supplies.
Note: Notaries may have continuing obligations to their state, such as letting the state know about any change or name or address change. The application that you submit to become a notary may become a public record.
Having a document notarized does not make the document more legal nor does it validate the document or verify that the statements in the document are true. It simply means that a notary has properly identified the signer of the document and verified their willingness to sign and mental capacity.
Name of individual creating affidavit
Individual's address (street, city, state, zip code)
Age of person creating affidavit
Job title of person creating affidavit
Statement that is being declared a true in the affidavit
State and county where affidavit will be signed
A notary form may be filled out for an individual acting in his own right, for a corporation, for a partnership, for an individual acting as principal by an attorney in fact, or by any public officer, trustee, or personal representative.
Each state has its own regulations and guidelines regarding their notaries’ duties and the notarization processes. Generally, however, in order to have a document notarized, you must go to a notary near you, have your identity verified, sign the document in the notary’s presence, and pay a fee if applicable.
Your Identity - Properly verifying your identity is the notary's primary duty. Your identity may be verified by one or more of the following methods:
Identifying Documents - these must always be government-issued and contain a photograph of you (driver’s license, passport, “green card”, etc.)
The Notary’s Personal Knowledge of you - which means that the notary personally knows you and can thus verify your identity
Credible Witnesses - persons who know you and can legally vouch for your identity
Your Signature - You must appear in person to sign the document in the presence of the notary. The document must not be signed beforehand.
The Fee - Some banks and financial institutions allow account holders to have documents notarized for free. Otherwise, you may be required to pay a small fee, typically less than $20. Some states limit how much a notary can charge for an individual notarization (ex: in California and Florida you can only charge $10, Pennsylvania notaries can only charge $5, in states like Maine notaries can charge any fee they feel appropriate).
Once a notary has verified your identity and accepted your fee, they will stamp and sign your document with their notary seal. A notary seal generally indicates when a notary's commission expires. If the notary stamp does not have an expiration date, the notary can print "My Commission Expires on" and the date under or near the signature.
There are many notary directories on the internet. Use your location and the word "notary" to find a place to get a document notarized near you.
Some common places where you may have a document notarized include:
Banks and Financial Institutions
City Halls, Courthouses, Police stations, and Public Libraries
U.S. Embassies and Consulates
College and Universities
Note: you cannot get a document notarized at a post office.
In addition, there are notaries who are available to travel to your home or office to notarize documents. These "mobile notaries" often include a travel charge along with their fee.
Finally, you may be able to have a document notarized online, however, you should first find out if this will be acceptable for your purpose. Some transactions may require that you appear physically in the presence of the notary to have a related document notarized.
A notary public is an individual of proven integrity designated by a state government, generally the secretary of state, to act as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official, fraud-deterrent duties, specified by law, related to the signing of important documents. A notary has the power to witness the signing of documents and administer oaths. The witnessing duties of a notary specified by law are known as notarizations or notarial acts.
Notaries are publicly commissioned as "ministerial" officials; unlike "judicial"officials, notaries are required to follow written rules without exercising significant personal discretion. A notary public in the United States is not an attorney, judge, or high-ranking official. A notary's public trust is based on impartiality; it is their obligation/duty not to act in situations where they have a personal interest and to never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or status as a non-customer.
A notary's function is to ensure that all signatures on a document are legitimate. A notary screens the signatories to documents for their correct, verifiable identity, their readiness to sign without intimidation/undue influence/coercion, and their knowledge/understanding of the contents of the document/transaction in question, including that they are capable of making sound decisions. Certain notarizations also require the notary to put the signatory under oath -- to declare under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the document in question is correct and true.
As an official representative of the state, a notary public certifies the proper execution of life-altering documents; the conveyance of real estate (deeds), wills, powers of attorney, and prenuptial agreements generally require notary services. Notarization is the official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic, and can be trusted.
A notarized document is one that has been certified by a notary public: the notary public has verified the identities of all the parties signing the document (by asking to see a current ID that has a photo, physical description, and signature), witnessed the signatures, and marked the document with a stamp (or “seal”). The notary signature is the handwritten name of and by the the notary that matches exactly the name on the notary’s commissioning paper.
A certificate is a completed, signed, and sealed statement by a notary that includes the details of a notarization and appears at the end of a signed document or on a paper attached to it. A certificate form is a notarial certificate.statement on a separate sheet of paper attached to a document; it is used when no wording is provided, when the provided certificate wording does not comply with state requirements, when there is no space for the seal on the document or when a preprinted certificate has already been used by another notary.
A notarized document means that the signature on the document is legitimate -- nothing more. Notaries are not required or expected to read or evaluate the document in question, or give legal advice.
A notarization includes the following three parts:
The notary’s screens the signatory for identity, willingness, and awareness/knowledge.
The notary enters the important details of the notarization in the notary’s “journal of notarial acts.” Some states require the document signatories to leave a signature and thumbprint in the notary’s journal.
The notary completes a “notarial certificate” that states exactly what facts are being certified by the notary in the notarization; affixation of the notary signature and seal of office on the certificate culminates the notarization.
State Notary Forms and Applications
Each state and U.S. territorial jurisdiction adopts its own laws governing the performance of notarial acts.
A notary acknowledgment is generally performed on documents controlling/conveying ownership of valuable assets, including real property deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust, and powers of attorney. For an acknowledgment form, the signatory must appear in person at the time of notarization to be positively identified and to declare (“acknowledge”) that the signature on the document is their own, that it was made willingly/voluntarily, and that the provisions in the document in question are intended to take effect exactly as written.
A jurat is typically performed on evidentiary documents critical in legal -- civil and criminal -- proceedings, legal documents that include affidavits, depositions and interrogatories. Depending on the jurisdiction, a jurat is also known as an affidavit or a verification on oath or affirmation. For a jurat, the signatory/affiant (signer of an affidavit) must appear in person at the time of notarization to sign the document and to speak aloud an oath (a solemn pledge to a Supreme Being) or affirmation (a solemn pledge on one's personal honor) promising that the statements in the document are true.
In certain cases, a notary administers an oath or affirmation orally, rather than as part of a jurat, affidavit, or other written document. The purpose of administering a verbal oath or affirmation is also to compel the person in question to be truthful.
A copy certification is performed to confirm that a reproduction/transcription of an original document is true, accurate, and complete, including college degrees, passports, and other important personal papers that cannot be certified by a public record office and that the holder must submit for some purpose but does not want to submit the original document for fear of loss. A copy certification is not an authorized notarial act in every state; in jurisdictions where it is authorized, it may be executed only with certain kinds of original documents.
The purpose of a notary statement is to verify the authenticity of a statement or act; it demystifies and streamlines the authentication process. Such statements are mainly employed to verify written statements during court proceedings, but they are also used in a variety of legal transactions, including real estate and finance-related interactions.
A notary statement form establishes the authentification/verification by a notary public of the signature on the statement for the individual requesting notarization; it can be seen as a declaration that the notary knows the individual personally, knows a trustworthy/reliable witness who has identified the individual in person, and that the notary has identified the individual based on the identification documents provided.
External Notary Form Resources: