What is a Notary Public - The Short & the Long of It

Notary Public: The Short Answer

A notary public is a licensed official that can functioning as a reliable, unbiased witness for the finalizing of crucial files. A notary public is also able to administer oaths and may have other official capabilities depending upon the jurisdiction.

In the United States, the majority of notary publics charge a nominal fee for their services. Notary publics dispense their main tasks by marking files with their signatures and a distinctive embossed stamp or inked seal. A document which has been seen by a notary public has actually been notarized.

Notary Public: Advantages

The advantages of using a notary public are simple. By certifying the veracity of the finalizing celebrations, the notary supplies a low-cost way for individuals and companies to participate in agreements and perform business with a reasonable assurance that the notarized documents will be acknowledged in court.

Utilizing a notary public is a method to secure versus scams, as the notary is responsible for requiring the signer of a legal document to establish his/her identity. Although this is not definitive evidence of identity, it supplies affordable proof of identity so that every day business can be conducted. A notary likewise functions as an indifferent third party for parties entering into a legally binding agreement.

Notary Public: More Info, Please


The concept of a notary is as old as the Western idea of civil law, which has its beginnings in the courts of Rome. As the Roman legal system ended up being more codified, the court ended up being a growing number of dependent on making use of scribes for keeping the court records. These scribes developed a system of legal shorthand, called notae. In time, a legal scribe earned the name notarius.

The name has been handed down through the centuries, living on past the fall of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, the role of the notary public was often taken by the clergy, who were charged with recording private and public transactions, in addition to drawing up official documents.


Today, a notary public's responsibilities are somewhat different than the responsibilities of a notarius. In the United States, a notary public has been authorized by a specific body, typically a state government, to perform the services of a notary. These duties are typically confined to the witnessing of documents and the administration of oaths. Some states also allow notary publics to certify copies of official documents

2 of the most typical documents that a notary public will witness relate to the sale or transfer of real property and the giving of power of attorney. A few examples of the documents that a notary public can officially witness consist of the following:
§ Recognitions.
§ Affidavits.
§ Jurats.
§ Oaths.
§ Official demonstrations.

Some states provide notary publics considerably more responsibilities. cedar park notary public For example notary publics in Louisiana are able to perform most of the tasks that a legal representative can supply with the exception of representing another individual prior to a court. 3 states-- Florida, Maine and South Carolina-- enable notary publics to solemnize a marriage ceremony.

Some states will require the notary public to maintain a record of official acts. Although keeping a journal of main acts carried out is not mandated by all states, lots of expert notary organizations recommend that all notaries keep records of their actions.

SIDEBAR: Legal Language.

Ever wonder why legal documents have to do with as clear as mud?

The phrasing of legal file has to abide by certain custom-mades and constraints in order to have any binding impact in a court of law. This wording is called acceptable language.

SIDEBAR: Meanings and documents.

Know your jurat from your acknowledgement? Here are the definitions of a few of the typical files dealt with by a notary public.

Acknowledgement: A legal statement of an act.
Affidavit: A sworn declaration of truth.
Jurat: A part of an affidavit including the oath or affirmation.

Becoming a Notary Public.

In the United States, each state is accountable for commissioning notary publics to practice within its jurisdiction. In general, the requirements for ending up being a notary public are reasonably easy to meet. In most states, a candidate needs to be at least 18 years of age. A lot of states charge a small fee as part of the application procedure. Some states need acceptable performance on an exam prior to commissioning the notary officer. In some states, the notary is needed to hold a bond as insurance in case of a lawsuit leveled versus the notary public.

Notary publics dispense their main responsibilities by marking documents with their signatures and a distinct embossed stamp or tattooed seal. Using a notary public is a way to secure versus fraud, as the notary is responsible for needing the signer of a legal file to establish his or her identity. In the United States, a notary public has been licensed by a particular body, typically a state federal government, to carry out the services of a notary. Some states also allow notary publics to license copies of main documents

In some states, the notary is needed to hold a bond as insurance coverage in case of a suit leveled against the notary public.

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