Do you often find yourself asking, “what documents can a notary public sign?” We bet you have. Most notaries are asked time and time again how they can help their fellow community members. So, you’re not alone. Notaries are impartial witnesses to the signing of important legal documents. Their job is to verify a signee’s identity and ensure that there is no fraudulent activity happening in the processing of the papers.
Using sound judgement, a notary can decline to provide their notarization. It’s best to keep in mind that not all essential or legal documents require notarization or commission. So, before you go hunting one of these specialists down, make sure you understand what you require from the notary public, and most importantly, if their service is needed.
Here’s a quick list of some documents and services that a licensed notary can assist with.
Documents a notary can sign – Quick List
- Statutory declarations
- Advanced directives
- Custody and guardianship agreements
- Power of Attorney
- Court documents
- Articles of incorporation
- Memorandum of understanding documents
- Vendor contracts
- Commercial leases
- Employment contracts
- Construction and loan agreements
- Mortgage closing documents
- Property deeds
- Loan documents
- Some types of credit or loan documents
Remember that each state has different laws, so check your state laws to determine what documents a local notary can help you with. If you’re unsure, do a quick search for your state and reach out to local notaries in your area for assistance. If you’re looking for a notary in your area, you can use this search engine at notaryjane.com for quick results. Keep in mind that some notaries serve on a small scale, and others can handle high-volume document notarizing. The person you reach out to will need to know what service you request to help you better.
When meeting to sign papers, make sure that you bring the proper form of identification with you. The following is from superiornotaryservices.com about what documents can a notary public sign.
Accepted Forms of Identification
“Accepted forms of identification for having notarial services performed include the following:
- State-issued driver’s license
- State-issued identification card
- U.S. military identification card
- Resident alien identification card (green card)
- U.S. passport
Unaccepted Forms of Identification
Unaccepted forms of identification may include the following:
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- School identification cards
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
If you are unable to obtain an acceptable form of identification, you may be able to verify your identity to the notary public through a credible witness. A credible witness is a person who knows the signer of the document and can vouch for his or her identity. It’s important to note that not all states allow the use of credible witnesses to verify a signer’s identity.
Want more information about ID? See our article Forms of ID for Notary which will help understand the “What documents can a notary public sign?” further.
But a signer can’t use a credible witness for the sake of convenience. If a signer accidentally left their driver’s license at home, for instance, they can’t let a friend or family member vouch for their identity. The only time when a credible witness is allowed is when the signer has no form of acceptable identification, and the signer can not reasonably obtain an acceptable form of identification.”
So there you have it, a great cheat sheet to keep handy or share with anyone you know who is asking the question, “what documents can a notary public sign?” When in doubt, the best approach is to contact a local notary in your area and ask them how they can best assist you. When you do find a notary and you meet up to get your documents signed, make sure you validate their stamp by asking to see the imprint and validity year. It’s rare that you’ll have to worry about that but a good tip to keep in your back pocket.