In the United States, generally speaking, a notary public is a public official appointed by the government to serve the public as an impartial witness. Such individual is not required to have special education. Non-attorney notary may not offer legal advice, may not prepare documents, and cannot recommend how one should sign something or even what type of notarization is necessary. However, in our firm we have attorney-notary and therefore our notaries can render legal advice. Each state in the United States has different requirements for becoming a notary public and performing notary activities called notarizations.
Notarization is the “act of witnessing” by the notary public in accordance with specifications of state law. Notarization involves signed documents and requires the notary to ensure the signer’s identity and willingness to sign.
The notarization of a document is designed todetect and deter fraud when the proper steps of notarization are followed.
However, a notarization does not:
- prove the truthfulness of statements contained in the document,
- legalize or validate the document, or
- by itself protect a person’s rights to his/her artistic creations or inventions.
Notary is authorized to acknowledge signatures, take oaths and affirmations, and certify copies of non-government documents. Documents certified by notaries usually are sealed with the notary’s seal and are recorded by the notary in a register. These are known as “notarial acts”.