Reasons to Use a Notary Public

Reasons to Use a Notary Public

December 7, 2021

What kind of documents need to be notarized? What is notarization, and where can you get it done?

If this is your first experience with a notary public, you probably have plenty of questions.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about using a notary.

What is a notary?

A notary public is a state-appointed witness to prevent fraud. You can visit a notary when you’re signing important documents, such as estate planning documents, home purchases and mortgages, adoptions and other legal paperwork.

Notaries act as a gatekeeper: They ensure that the documentation and signatures comply with state and federal standards. They have to verify the signer’s identity and that they’re not signing the papers under duress. The signer also needs to be aware of what they’re signing.

Notaries usually perform three broad categories of acts: acknowledgments (such as declaring that the signature is one’s own and it was made willingly); jurats (which declare the veracity of the documents); and certified copies (which allow for the reproduction of certain sensitive documents).

In some cases, you may even be able to get documents notarized remotely.

What kinds of documents need to be notarized?

Traditionally, notarized documents include legal paperwork (such as adoptions), estate planning documents, complaints and affidavits, marriage license applications and more. Notaries may also verify financial documents, such as bills of sale, liens and lien agreements, bank transfer agreements and promissory notes.

Reasons to use a notary

Obviously, the most important benefit of using a notary is to prevent fraud. When you have a document notarized, you’re adding another layer of protection to the transaction. A notary can verify that the signer is who they say they are. They’ll make sure that the signer not only knows exactly what they’re agreeing to but that they’re not signing the paperwork out of fear, guilt or other undue influence.

That’s important when you’re handling sensitive financial or legal transactions. For example, if a person writes a will with unusual provisions (like leaving the entirety of their estate to provide for the care of their cat) having their will and trust documents notarized makes it harder to contest them later on. Family members and friends who thought they’d inherit more of the estate will almost certainly question the sanity of the signer. With notarized documents, however, a neutral third party has verified that the person signing understood what they were doing.

Similarly, in housing transactions, you’d want to verify that the person signing over the deed is the person qualified to do so. A notary can check their identity to make sure that everything is proceeding above board.

Notaries can be used in other circumstances, too. For example, some states require attorney applications to the state bar to be notarized, while others require notarization for handgun permits. In short, use a notary whenever you need an additional level of legal protection.

When you need a notary or have questions about what kinds of documents need to be notarized, call Kedean’s Generation today.

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