What does a signer need to do in preparation for an appointment?

All individuals on documents to be signed and notarized are to be PRESENT at signing and must have PROPER IDENTIFICATION (see below)

What signer identification is required for a Notary to perform a notarization?

Documentation must include the signers photograph, signature, identifying number, and a physical description that includes height, weight, color of hair and color of eyes.

      ONE of the following is required.

What signer identification is unacceptable?

What if a signer’s identification has expired or they do not have acceptable identification?

If you do not have valid identification, you may be identified by either one or two credible identifying witnesses who must produce acceptable identification. Only one credible identifying witness is required provided that individual is personally known by the notary, and is able to produce acceptable identification. Two credible identifying witnesses are required if neither of them are personally known by the Notary. They must also produce acceptable identification.  The witnesses must personally know you and take an oath attesting to your identity.  The witnesses may not have an interest in or be named in the document.

What are credible identifying witnesses?

When a signer is unable to present proper identification, the signer may be identified on the oath or affirmation of one or two credible identifying witnesses.  If there is only one credible identifying witness, he/she must be personally known by the Notary; otherwise two credible identifying witnesses are required.  The witnesses, whether personally known or unknown by the Notary, must present valid identification.  In either case, each witness must swear or affirm that the following is true:

What if the name on the document does not match the signer’s identification?

May Accept “Less of a Name” Than Appears On The Identification:

If the document reflects less of a name than what appears on the identification, the Notary may proceed with the notarization. For example, if your identification reads “Norton John Smith,” and the document reads “Norton J. Smith,” the Notary may accept your identification for that document because the “J” is defined.

May Not Accept “More of a Name” Than Appears On The Identification:

If the document reflects more of a name than what appears on the identification, the Notary may not proceed with the notarization. For example, if your identification reads “Norton J. Smith,” but the document reads “Norton John Smith,” the Notary may not accept your identification for that document because it does not define the “J.“”

What if the signer’s identification reflects their maiden name but the document contains their married name?

What if a signer is disabled and unable to sign his/her name?

A disabled person may sign a document by marking an “X” in the presence of two witnesses who personally know the signer and who have no interest in nor are named in the document.  The witnesses must present acceptable identification.

May a Notary Public prepare or review or complete a legal document?

A Notary Public is a person of honesty, credibility, truthfulness and integrity appointed by the State to service the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of acts related to the signing of important documents, taking oaths and affirmations and performing other acts authorized by law.  A Notary Public is not an attorney and may not give legal advice or assist a signer to draft, prepare, select or complete a document or transaction.

Does “notarization” mean that a document is true, accurate or legal?

As public officials, Notaries serve an important role in the prevention of fraud and protection of the parties involved by following strict procedures in identifying a person and by acting as an official, unbiased witness for certain documents.  Notaries are not responsible for the truth, accuracy or legality of documents they notarize.

Can an incomplete document be notarized?

Notaries are prohibited from notarizing any document that is incomplete.  Any blanks should be filled in by the signer, lined though or marked as “not applicable”.

Can a Notary Public decline to provide service?

Notaries must perform all lawful and reasonable requests for notarization.  However, the following are some circumstances under which a Notary my decline service:

What is a GLBA Compliance trained and background screened mean?

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) regulations require organizations to protect themselves against unauthorized access, anticipated hazards and risks threatening the security or integrity of consumer financial information.  To comply with this law and the Inter-agency Guidelines that have been set, some financial and lending institutions have begun to require regulatory compliance training and background screening for all persons involved in the lending process and who render real estate settlement services.  Since Signing Agents have access to consumers’ private and financial information, many lenders now require notaries to received regulatory compliance training (typically a Certified Loan Signing Agent has satisfied the educational requirements) and to submit to a background check.

Can a Notary Signing Agent help us complete our documents or provide advice?

No, a Notary Signing Agent cannot provide documents, assist in the completion of your documents or give legal advise on your documents.