Notaries have been in existence since the time of ancient Rome. The appointed office of notary public exists to prevent fraud and forgery in commercial and personal documents. They also serve as a reminder of the solemnity and seriousness of certain transactions, such as real estate closings. Notaries can also be called upon to ensure the accuracy of a document at a later date through testimony, subpoena or deposition. Notaries are most commonly found in banks, legal offices, insurance offices or government offices.
Duties of a notary
Notaries have statutory burdens placed on them. Though the requirements vary from state to state, notaries are often required to keep a journal of their notarizing activities. Acts of notarization can only be performed in the state in which the notary is appointed; outside of their jurisdiction acts of notarization are void. Notaries must also notify the Secretary of State when they change their address.
Notaries can charge limited fees as provided by law. The limits on fees are set by the state legislature.
Careers involving notarization
Certain types of offices require notaries to complete transactions. An employee in the banking, insurance, law or government field could become more useful to their employer with the ability to notarize. In addition, many of these offices are willing to pay for your notary materials, such as education, books and seal.
Abilities of a notary
The exact abilities of a notary vary from state to state. The abilities of a notary often include taking oaths or affirmations, acknowledgments, verifications or proofs. In some jurisdictions, notaries can also certify certain types of true copies and even issue certain types of marriage licenses. Consult the Secretary of State or your state's notary handbook for the specific abilities of a notary in your state.
Removal from office
Most states have provisions to remove a notary from office for acts of moral turpitude, improper notarial acts or the unauthorized practice of law. Your state's Secretary of State or notary public handbook should have information on what acts can remove a notary from office.
- "Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina, 10th edition;" Charles Szypszak; 2006;
- Notary Public Handbook of California
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images