Notarizing a letter ensures the signature is legitimate. It does not guarantee the accuracy of the letter’s content. However, it still gives parties added protection if challenged in court. Depending on the purpose of the document, state laws or the receiving party might require a notary letter.
Who Performs Notary Service?
A notary or notary public is a person commissioned by the state to provide notary service. Each state has its own rules as to the necessary qualifications. Some states require applicants to complete lengthy training. Others require nothing more than a fee and some basic information.
The Secretary of State’s office website lists the requirements and qualifications for notaries. It also details the laws that apply to different types of notarized statements. If you’re looking for a notary, you may find a directory of active notaries there as well.
Where Can I Find a Notary?
Notary service is widely available through banks and credit unions. City and county government buildings and law enforcement centers sometimes have a notary available to the public. However, because the state vs. federal government commissions notaries, post offices do not provide the service.
Lawyers, dealerships and other businesses sometimes have notaries on-site too. Generally, they reserve these services for paying customers.
Can I Get a Letter Notarized Online?
Mobile notary services travel to clients all over the state. That’s different from digital service providers who notarize statements online. While federal law allows for online services and digital signature verification offers far more protection than notary services performed in person, state laws and public perception still lag behind technology.
As of January 2020, digital notarization was available in roughly half the United States, while remote notarization via webcam was allowed only in Montana, Vermont, Texas and Nevada.
Read More: How to Get Something Notarized
What Documents Will I Need for a Notary Letter?
People who want a letter notarized should wait to sign the letter until they are actually before a notary public. The notary must witness the signature to notarize the letter. If the letter is signed in advance, the notary may provide a notarized statement that someone has signed a letter. However, that doesn’t provide as much protection and may not fulfill the legal requirements for the letter’s purpose. In addition, some states require letters to be typed rather than handwritten.
Different states have their own guidelines as to which documents notaries can use for signature verification. The most commonly accepted documents include:
- Driver’s license.
- State ID.
- Green card.
- Military card.
It’s common for a notary to require a valid ID. Notaries might not accept expired or damaged IDs.
The notary will verify the signatory’s identity and witness the signature. Then, the notary will apply a notary mark or seal to the letter along with her own signature. State law might require the notary to record the transaction in a logbook as well.
Can I Notarize My Own Letters?
No. You cannot notarize documents for transactions in which you have a personal interest. This rule can be confusing. An employee can notarize a contract for an employer as long as the employee isn’t a party to the contract.
A lawyer can notarize a document a client has paid her to prepare. But a business owner cannot notarize a service contract he has with his own client.
How Much Does a Notary Letter Cost?
Many banks and credit unions provide notary letter services to their customers free of charge. Businesses sometimes charge a fee, as does an independent notary public. However, state law regulates how much someone can change for notarization. Some states even limit the fees mobile services can charge for travel and expedited service.
The average cost for a notary letter is $20.