What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is someone who acts as an official witness to the signing of a document. The notary’s job is to make sure that the document–or documents– are being signed freely and willingly as well as to make sure that the people who are signing it are who they say they are. In most cases, the document must be signed in the presence of the notary in order to be notarized. In some cases, it can be signed beforehand and then brought to the notary by the person who signed it. It is at that point when the notary will acknowledge that the person signed it.
Given the formality that goes into getting a document notarized, why is it then that the document needs to be notarized to begin with? The answer to this lies in the person or entity that requests the document. Typically, documents are requested to be notarized when there needs to be an added level of trust to the document. Notarization essentially makes it so that the document was executed in such a way that it is binding for the people whose names are in it. When a document is notarized, it says that the people who signed it were willing to do what the document says they will do and there is evidence to back that up.
Why Do I Need One?
Notaries provide legal verification for documents that have to be submitted for formal purposes. Technically, what they do is not notarize documents but signatures. For many documents, notaries employ seals in order to emphasize their approval. While this used to be the case on all documents, this is rarely the case now. In fact, often, really only real estate transactions carry notarized signatures along with notary stamps.
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