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What is a Notary Public?

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What is a Notary Public?
Article by permission of Performance Mobile Notary

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 & certify documents.

Perhaps the most important duty of a notary public is attesting to signatures on documents. A notary public may also administer oaths in depositions or other situations. The signature and seal/stamp are evidence that the signature of the notary is genuine and that the person is a notary public.

A notary public must ensure that the person signing a document to be notarized is who s/he says s/he is. Because identities are critical, a notary public may also spend some time verifying the names of the parties

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 involved in the signing.

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.

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 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.

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.

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