Notary Service Oak Leaf

What does a notary public do?

The state appoints notary public’s with the role of verifying official documents and administers legal vows. A notary public must notarize any document that has an originator who requires confirmation of the signature's authenticity. The notary also checks the authenticity of each document's originator and makes sure that the signing party is completely informed of its contents and that the signer is under no duress in which they are being forced to sign the document. The primary function of a notary is to verify the identity of any person who signs official documents. The notary will require a valid driver's license, government-issued ID card or other official forms of ID with a signature and photograph in order to validate a signer’s identity.

Can a notary help me prepare a document?

It is not possible for notary publics to be involved with the actual signing or preparation of documents. They must remain impartial and neutral throughout the entire process and are only allowed to observe the signing of official documents once the identity of the signer is verified. A notary cannot actively assist in the preparation of a document. If they do, they will likely lose their notary license. If a document is not authenticated or the identity of the signer can’t be proven, a notary public can refuse to sign it. Documents which have a direct financial interest to the notary should be rejected and not validated.

How do you become a Notary Public?

Each state in the United States has their own requirements for becoming notaries public. There are also strict limitations on what they can charge clients to do certain services. New York State, for instance, requires that notaries public renew their license every four years. After passing the examination, the New York State Department of State issues the license annually. New York State's notaries cannot charge more than $20 per signature.

Before you are eligible to become a Florida Notary, you must successfully complete the three-hour training program and be fully insured. All Notaries must submit an "affidavit to character". They also must be residents of Florida during their 4-year license term. Most services cannot be charged more than $10 by Florida Notaries.

California is America's most difficult state for Notary Public. Prospective notaries have to complete a 6-hour course, and then take a state examination. A background check must be completed and they must also reside in California. California has a $5-20 maximum charge for all services, while Colorado's maximum notarization fee for documents is $5. Texas' Acknowledgment and Proof Services maximum price a Texas notary public may charge is $6.00 per initial signature, $1.00 each for additional signatures. Although you don't have to be an American citizen in order to become a notary public, it is required that you reside within the state for four years.

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