Law Articles

To search for a particular term please use the following search box.

Return to Law Dictionary Index

What does a Notary Public do?

What a notary public does is witness the signing of the documents and ask each party for a sworn oath of authenticity. A notary (or a notary public) is a person legally authorized by a state to administer oaths, take acknowledgments and certify documents. A notary public shall exercise no power or jurisdiction in criminal cases.

A notary public must ensure that the person signing a document to be notarized is who they say they are. Because identities are critical, a notary public may also spend some time verifying the names of the parties involved in the signing.

One misconception about a notary public is that his or her official signature and/or embossing stamp automatically makes a document 'true and legal'. Documents certified by notaries public are sealed with the notary's seal and are recorded by the notary public in a register maintained by them.

The notary public's seal shall either be a seal press or a rubber stamp. These shall be the exclusive property of the notary public. A notary public's signature and seal is required to authenticate the signatures on many legal documents. The notary public verifies the person's identity, usually done with a driver's license, presses the notary seal on the document and signs it.

If you're an inpatient, you may also ask your nurse or unit clerk to arrange for the services of a notary public without charge. Additionally, mail-box shops, copy services, and banks often provide Notary services to the public.

Authentication of a Notary Public's signature is often required when foreign and other jurisdictions are involved. The public may access this record and verify the "official" signature of the notary at the county clerk's office. If not, then a sample of the Notary's signature and seal must first be authenticated by the appropriate provincial authority responsible for Notaries Public.

Each notary public shall have a seal of office, which shall be affixed to his instruments of publications and to his protestations. The term of office of a notary public is four years commencing with the effective date specified in the notarial commission. The Office of the Secretary of State performs random background investigations on individuals submitting new or renewal notary public applications. The applicant cannot act as a Notary Public until he receives his certificate of appointment from this office. An appointed notary public may begin notarizing documents after receipt of a certificate of appointment from the Secretary of State.

Return to Contracts

Return to Law Dictionary Index