The notary public is said to the oldest branch of the legal profession that exists in the world.
The office of the notary history goes back to the Roman Empire and early history of the Catholic Church. The Romans developed the office and from that the Church devised it’s own system to handle civil matters after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The word notary is derived from Latin ‘nota’ — the function of a system of shorthand developed by M. Tullius Tiro (103-3 B.C.) This method was used for agreements, conveyances and other instruments and they were described as ‘notarius’. Notarii were semi-officials whose numbers grew as the empire grew into a guild or company that had limited supervision, regulations and fees.
Notaries were known in England during the Middle Ages but since the law did not require deeds or other instruments in common use to be prepared, they were not needed by medieval law and therefore, not recognized. During the 17th century, common law became the supreme body of of law in England and the office of notary public became less important.
The settlers who left England to find a new life in the new world, brought with them the common law of England including the notary public. They were described as "…a notary public. who confirms and attests the truth of any deed or writing, in order to render the same more credible and authentic in any country whatever. And he principally made use of in courts of judicature and business relating to merchants. For a notary public is a certain kind of witness, and therefore, ought to give evidence touching such things as fall under his corporeal senses, and not of such matters as fall under the judgment of the understanding.
The early colonial charters started enacting laws affecting the office of the notary public. They designated an officer who was authorized to appoint notaries, defined their duties, settled their fees, and provided territorial limits of their jurisdiction and other matters
The document signer must be PHYSICALLY PRESENT before the notary.
An essential element of the notarial act is personal, face-to-face communication between the document signer and the notary. This is necessary for the notary to assess the signer’s comprehension of the transaction and willingness to sign, to help ensure that neither coercion nor fraud are present. Physical presence of the signer is so important that notaries who fail to require it can be charged with a crime and punished.
The signer must be PERSONALLY KNOWN to the notary or must produce SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF IDENTIFICATION.
One of the notary’s main responsibilities is to determine, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the person who has come for a notarial act is the same person named in the document as the signer. The signer must either be personally known to the notary (regular interaction over time has given the notary a deep-seated belief in the person’s identity); or the signer must present satisfactory evidence of identification, such as a state-issued driver’s license. The documents that a notary may accept as satisfactory evidence of identification vary by state but all states allow a current driver’s license. Some states also allow use of one or two credible witnesses to vouch for the identify of a signer, subject to the credible witness(es) ability to truthfully swear to a series of statements about the signer.
The notary must be presented with an ORIGINAL document.
An original document is one that is unsigned, or that was/is physically signed in “wet ink” by the document signer. For example, an unsigned document may be faxed and subsequently signed by the document signer. That faxed document, with its original wet-ink signature, is an original document. A document that was previously signed, then faxed, is NOT an original document. It displays a facsimile signature, not a signature stroked directly onto the paper in wet ink.
Documents requiring an oath must be signed in the notary’s presence.
The document presented for notarization must be COMPLETE.
The notary cannot perform a notarial act over a document that is missing pages, or contains blanks that should be filled-in prior to the notarial act. If missing pages cannot be presented to the notary, or if the signer does not know how to deal with the blanks in the document, the notary cannot proceed. (Note: some blanks are clearly intended to be filled-in later, such as “Office Use Only” blanks. These are acceptable at the time of notarization.)
The DOCUMENT DATE must be the same day as the notarization or earlier, but NEVER later than the day of notarization.
When the document to be notarized is a dated one, then it must be dated the same day as notarization or earlier. The purpose of notarization is so the formalities of document execution are conducted before a notary. The notary then records the facts of the document execution in his/her notarial certificate (the part of the document that the notary signs and seals). Notarization is the final step in document execution, so it cannot occur before the document’s date. It is possible for a signer to present an undated document for notarization; i.e., a document that does not require a date or display a blank for a date to be filled-in. If the signer does not wish to date the document, the notary may proceed with notarization, but should carefully note in his/her recordbook that the notarial act was performed on an undated document.
The document must display NOTARIAL LANGUAGE that clearly indicates the desired notarial act.
This is the notary’s primary means of determining the required notarial act. Look at the notarial certificate. Check the format. Does it comply with state law? You also want to look for the specific wording; sworn (or affirmed) or acknowledged. These words tell you which notarial act is required - whether you have to administer an oath (or affirmation) or take an acknowledgment. If the document signer insists on a notarial act but no act is clearly indicated on the document, the signer or other party involved with the document must choose the notarial act. The notary can explain the differences between the various acts, but cannot choose the act or he/she risks practicing law without a license. If the notary feels the document does not require or the only reason a notarization is being asked for is to add legitimacy to a document, the notary must refuse to continue.
The notary must feel assured that THE SIGNER COMPREHENDS the underlying transaction and is PROCEEDING WILLINGLY.
Notaries provide an invaluable service by assessing a signer’s comprehension and willingness. It is not uncommon for signers to execute a document under duress or coercion. Sometimes signers don’t really understand why they are executing a document. It’s up to the notary to recognize when a signer suffers from coercion, misgivings or inability to understand the transaction, and to stop the notarial act if necessary.
The notary must/should complete a recordbook entry.
Many states require the notary to keep a recordbook (also called a notary journal) of all notarial acts. States that do not require a notary to keep a record of his or her notarial acts strongly recommend that the notary keep a recordbook. Keeping a notary recordbook is for your own protection and for the protection of the public and your employer. The recordbook entry should contain information about the signer including his or her original signature, the title and date of the document, the notarial act performed, the method of identifying the signer, and any unusual circumstances associated with the notarization.
The verbal ceremony must be performed.
Here's the essence of the notarization.
In the case of a document requiring an acknowledgment, the verbal ceremony is the question that officially determines the client’s understanding of the document and willingness to sign the document. In the case of a document requiring an oath or affirmation, the verbal ceremony is the official question that causes the client to swear or affirm that the information in the document is the truth. It is called a “verbal” ceremony because the question must be asked aloud by the notary and the client must make a verbal response that the notary can clearly hear.
A completed notarial certificate is required.
This certificate is the notarial wording or language which records and describes the events of the process of performing the notarial act. The wording may be printed on the document following the signer's signature, or it may be on a separate attached form, known as a "loose notarial certificate." Without a completed notarial certificate, the notarization is incomplete and be open to legal challenge.
I am a Mobile Notary Closing Specialist:
I primarily do real estate transactions (purchase, seller, commercial, refinance). This explains why I am unable to process any request for providing service at the state minimum notary fee. I charge nothing for my notary services but rather for the specialized service I offer as a Certified Closing Specialist or Signing Agent. While it is true that all notaries who have qualified to become a notary perform essentially the same service, Certified Closing Specialists are generally more highly skilled. Often it is essential for a document to be processed properly. As a closing professional I keep up to date on changing tile,mortgage and notary laws/rules. I have the equipment and experience to meet any need. Unlike those who notarize infrequently as a minor aspect of their job function; closings are my specialty.
Those who notarize “on the side” are earning their salary primarily by doing something else. Notary work is my primary source of income. To earn that income I have many direct expenses. There are the costs involved in advertising (that’s how you found me), ongoing advanced training (I really do know how the rules apply to your request), insurance and maintaining proper supplies. There are also transportation costs to go to you, fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc. I have an infrastructure, of cell service, printers and scanners, internet access; the list goes on and on; I pay many monthly bills directly related to being able to provide service at your location.
To you I might seem a magician. My requirement for your time is minimal; you don’t see or hear about my time in traffic. When I arrive your needs are met swiftly and accurately. However, my primary focus is on accuracy and completeness of your documents. As a professional notary public I am dedicated to perfection in every task that receives my stamp and signature. I am a “by the book” notary. I know the laws, and how they must be applied. Face to face meeting is always necessary for me to notarize a signature; there can be no exceptions. When you first call I will ask what work needs to be done. Not every document can be notarized; some require an extensive procedure. However, most requirements can be met as you request. The rules require me to inspect your ID, government issued photo ID; a drivers license or passport is always OK.
As a mobile closer, I maintain a calendar and schedule to be at your location on time. It’s rare that I am late, but the uncertainty of traffic delays is a factor. Homes, offices, hospitals, and meeting at coffee shops are part of my daily life. The fees I charge are fair for the services provided. If you want an expert, I’m just a call away. Use a professional mobile notary public; it will be done right the first time, every time.