What does a Notary do?
A Notary Public is a state-commissioned official who is authorized to notarize documents by ensuring they verify the identity of the signing parties. They also confirm that the signing party understands what they are signing. The Notary must have no personal interest in the document they are notarizing. A Notary must use good judgement and practices when providing their services to ensure that they follow state laws.
Some documents that require a notarization include:
- Last Will & Testament
- Power of Attorney
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Mortgage/Loan Documents
- Property Deeds
- Adoption Documents
Some documents require a witness at the time of signing. In some cases, a Notary can act as a witness if they are not the one notarizing the document, otherwise, the signor must provide their own witness that meets state requirements.
What is the Purpose of a Notarization?
The purpose of notarizing is to oversee the document’s signing and validate the identity of the person signing the document. The main objective of a Notary Public is to reduce the risk of potential fraudulent activity. Once the Notary confirms the identity of the signer, they will provide their seal or stamp on the document to complete the notarization.
What are the Risks of Being a Notary?
The most significant risk for a notary is the possibility of being sued or found liable for not following state laws, using poor judgement when notarizing a document, or not keeping adequate records in their notary journal. If a Notary follows state laws and guidelines, they dramatically lower their risk. It is also essential that the Notary protect themselves with Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.
Becoming a Notary also involves start-up fees and resources to gain momentum and build a solid client base. Application fees, business registration fees, marketing and supplies costs, etc., are all initial investments that don’t guarantee income. To become successful in this field, you’ll have to network so that people know where to find you. The Notary Jane directory helps thousands of Notary Publics do just that.
Laura Biewer offers a couple of worthwhile courses if you are looking to learn more on running a notary business.
How to Become a Notary
The guidelines to become a Notary Public differ from state to state, so a good place to start is by visiting your Secretary of State’s website to learn more. All Notary commissions, regardless of the state, are issued by and overseen by the Secretary Of State. If your application is approved and you complete all the state requirements to become a Notary, the next step will be to purchase your bond and E&O insurance. You’ll want to take full advantage of any Notary training programs in your area as some states require little to no training before issuing your commission. There are multiple excellent training programs available online.
Once you build a solid client list, you can turn your Notary business into a lucrative venture. Even if you’re looking to become a mobile notary to generate passive income alongside your existing full-time job, the next step is to create awareness that you’re available and taking clients.
Amongst other client needs, with the rising demands of the housing market, Notaries are sought after professionals. Some individuals start their Notary business as a side hustle that draws in passive income. However, there is a ton of potential to scale your notary business to a full-time career.
The main thing is getting your name out there so that people know where to find you. To become a successful Notary Public, a list of repeat clients and referrals are essential. Finding potential clients can be a daunting task. Suppose you’re looking to gain exposure quickly and want to get your name out as a reputable Notary in your area. In that case, our membership includes a professional online searchable profile, access to new signings in your area, a low-cost option to grow your business and tools to become a Better Business Notary.