When you have your signature notarized on an important document, it proves to anyone who sees it that an impartial observer witnessed the signing of the document and that it was, in fact, signed by the correct person on the stated date. Notarized signatures are often required on important business, legal and financial documents as a way to avoid fraud. If you have a document that you need to sign in front of a notary public, follow these steps to do so.
Locate an available notary public. Many banks have one or more staff members who are notaries and will notarize documents for bank customers free of charge. Similarly, if you work for a large company, there may be a notary public on staff. You can also look in the phone book to find a local independent notary public, but a notary found this way is more likely to charge a fee for the service.
Go to the location where the notary works and bring along the paperwork that you need to have notarized as well as an ID that includes a photo and your signature, such as a driver's license or military ID. In order to notarize your document, the notary will need to see your identification to make sure that you really are who you say you are.
Sign the document after the notary has been able to verify your identity. The notary is required to watch you sign, so be sure that he's ready for you to do so before you start writing. If you have more than one document to sign or a document containing several pages, check every page to make sure that there aren't any additional signatures or initials required. If you miss any the first time, you may need to make a return visit to the notary later.
Date the document if required; this is usually done next to or underneath your signature. If you're unsure of the current date, ask the notary or check a calendar to be sure that you don't make a mistake.
Make sure that the notary also signs and dates the document after observing your signature. She will also mark the document with her official seal, which will either be a stamp with ink or a physical imprint on the paper. The seal should include the notary's name, the name of the state you're in and the date that the notary's commission expires.