If you work in the legal industry, chances are you will need to have a document notarized at some point. You may seek out the services of a notary public to fulfill mandatory legal requirements, but that shouldn’t be your only reason. Learn more about notarizations to help you understand why they’re so important.
What is a Notary Public?
A notary public, or simply a notary, is a person of proven integrity who serves as an impartial witness during the signing of important documents, including legal depositions, wills, trusts, affidavits, and powers of attorney. State governments appoint and commission notaries as public officers, putting them in a position of trust and responsibility.
To become a notary, a person must first meet their state’s eligibility requirements. In California, notaries must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside in the state and country legally
- Complete a training course and pass an exam set by the Secretary of State
- Pass a background check
- Get a surety bond
- Get errors and omissions insurance (optional, but highly recommended)
What Does it Mean to Have a Document Notarized?
Notarizations, or notarial acts, involve three parts:
- The notary vets the signer to verify their identity, willingness to sign, and awareness of the document’s contents.
- The notary stamps and signs the document to certify its authenticity.
- The notary records the act in a notary journal for record-keeping purposes.
Benefits of Notarizing Documents
There are many reasons to have a document notarized, whether it’s required by law or not. Here’s why this system has been in place for centuries:
- Deter fraud and forgery: In a world where scammers take advantage of any victim who comes along, having a trustworthy notary to verify a signer’s identity adds an extra layer of protection when implementing crucial documents.
- Provide legal protection: Having your documents notarized can help prevent contract disputes and litigation.
- Elevate the credibility of the document: Many documents are not legally binding until they have been notarized. Even though this doesn’t apply to all documents, a notarization is still beneficial because a notary’s stamp and signature increase the document’s inherent value and authenticity.
- Avoid the need for a witness to appear in court: Under the law of evidence, a notarized document is considered self-authenticating. This means it may be submitted as evidence in a trial without additional proof that it is what it appears to be. Therefore, a notarization prevents the witness from having to be present, saving a great deal of time and money in the process.
At Talty Court Reporters, we provide notary services in San Jose to help you achieve the very best results in your legal case. Turn to us for other top-quality services as well, including court reporting and transcriptions, video and audio conferencing, remote depositions, and much more. For additional information about our services, or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.