To notarize a document is to certify that document, via the notary public. Notaries represent the government by acting as government agents who witness and acknowledge the authenticity of a signature that is appended to a legal attestation.
Once notarized, the document carries complete legal weight since the notary public acts as a neutral party that bears witness to the authenticity of at least one party or parties that are signing an agreement, an attestation, an affidavit, or any other document.
In most states and countries across the world, notarization takes the form of the stamping of the document in questions using an official seal, as well as an initialing of the stamp. Notarization could also include the preparation of a legal certificate.
- You have to present your valid identification, often in the form of a valid government-issued ID or any other piece of documentation, to the notary.
- Once presented, the notary makes sure that you understand the terms and the meaning of signing the document. The notary also ensures that you can attest to what you are signing.
- After you sign, the Notary Public will witness your signature.
- Once you’ve signed the document, the Notary Public affixes his/ her stamp or seal to the document. Once this is done, the document is said to be notarized.
A notarized document is similar to a document that is signed under oath in the court of law – you are signing the document saying that the facts in the document are true, to the best of your knowledge.
Taking all this information, it is clear that the notarization process takes place physically. Which begs the question, how does notarization work in the online scene? Documents are sent in the online space every day. How do you ensure that the document sent via email is recognized as a legal document?
Is notarization always necessary, especially now?
Most of the conditions that made notarization an important thing, centuries ago still makes sense today because of people wanting to ensure that their documents are signed during agreements, and without any duress or any form of intimidation. So, yes. Notarization is important.
Since notarization makes documents legal in the eyes of the law, you have to find notary services that apply online.
The most common online notarization services include the use of notarization apps or cameras.
In the simplest online notarization processes, you will be required to upload the document requiring notarization, as well as the prove of your identity. Then, you connect with the notary public via a live video and sign the document.
Fortunately, an increasing number of states are legalizing online notarization with 18 US states have legalized electronic notarization.
There also are apps that you can use to find legal notarization services. And in some cases, simple form checklist systems are acceptable.
Roles of the Notary Public
- Administration of affirmations and oaths
- Taking statutory declarations and affidavits
- Acknowledgment of deeds and conveyances
- Protesting bills of exchange and notes
- Giving notice of any foreign drafts