What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a state-appointed official who administers oaths or affirmations and serves as an impartial witness when important documents are signed. A Notary must positively identify each signer, and make sure the signer has entered into the agreement knowingly and willingly.

What is a Notary Signing Agent?

A Notary Signing Agent is a Notary Public who is specifically trained to facilitate mortgage closings.

Qualities of a Notary:

  • Integrity
  • Impartial
  • Trustworthy
  • Knowledgeable
  • Detailed

What type of ID is acceptable?

The identification presented to a notary public must be current, issued by a state or federal government agency, contain a photo, physical description and signature of the signer. The most common used form of ID is a valid driver’s license. While a passport is a government issued document, it does not contain a physical description of the document owner. This is one of the requirements, so it is often only used as a secondary form of ID.

Who decides what type of notary action is needed?

It may surprise you, but it is actually the client who must make that decision. Because a Notary Public is considered a ministerial official (service) and not a judicial official (specifically educated and trained - such as a lawyer), it would fall into the category of ‘giving advice’ for the Notary Public to tell the client which type of notarization is needed. If you do not know, seek the advice of the person/entity who requires the notarization.

Common types of notarizations:

  • Acknowledgement - The signer personally appeared before the Notary, was identified by the Notary with property ID and acknowledged to the Notary the document was freely signed (not necessarily signed at that moment in front of the Notary).
  • Jurat/Affidavit - The signer personally appeared before the Notary, was identified by the Notary and signed the document in the Notary’s presence, signing freely.

Does having a document notarized make it true and/or legal?

No. The accuracy of the document or legality is the signer’s responsibility. A Notary Public is the impartial witness that a signer has been positively identified and signed of free will the document presented. A Notary is not the impartial witness to the document.