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How and Why To Notarize A Document?

Notarization is extremely important. It has been around since Roman times and is necessary for the enforcement of the law. The main reason why notarization is deemed important is that it helps deter fraud and assures parties involved in a transaction. It lets the parties know that a document is reliable and genuine. The notary public is a professional who performs the notarization. He or she vets, certifies, and records the notarization of the document. 

Also known as notarial acts, notarizations assure that a document has been duly authenticated by a notary public and the parties who have signed the document had been present before the notary public. Thus, notarization enforces the terms and conditions laid out in the document. As the notary is an impartial third person who reviews the identity and willingness of the signers, he or she protects the rights of citizens from forgery and identifies thieves. The court system would be unable to do its job without notarization. It establishes trust in our society. 

Different Notarial Acts

  1. Certified Copies
    In order to confirm that a document is original and has been reproduced, a certified copy is made. It ensures that the document is complete, true, and exact. Certified copies of passports, college degrees, and other personal papers are usually required and a notary is responsible for providing these documents. However, it is crucial to mention that certified copies are not authorized notarial acts. Hence, the original document would need to be shown. 
  2. Acknowledgments
    When it comes to conveying the ownership of assets, an acknowledgment is required. Some of the documents which are acknowledged include trusts, powers of attorney, and property deeds. Signers must appear in person in order for the acknowledgment to be issued by the notary. Acknowledgments identify and declare that the document has been signed by the person. 
  3. Jurats
    Where there is a need for evidentiary documents to be presented before the criminal or civil justice system, jurats are needed. Some of the documents which are checked include interrogatories, depositions, and affidavits. In order to obtain a jurat, the notary requires the signer to appear in person and sign the document as well as take an oath to affirm that the statements made therein are true. An oath is made before a supreme authority to pledge honor. The person who affirms or takes an oath must be truthful. Otherwise, he or she would be prosecuted for perjury. 

    Every U.S. state and territory has its own laws which govern notarial acts. Even though the notarial laws are very much congruent, each state has different laws when it comes to jurats and acknowledgments. For instance, a marriage rite is considered a notarial act in South Carolina, Maine, and Florida. On the other hand, a certificate of an event or act is deemed an authorized notarization in Washington. 

The Parts of a Notarized Document

To better understand the notarization of a document, it is important that you know its parts. The first part of notarization includes the screening of the signer’s identity and ensuring awareness. Next, key details have to be entered by the notary in his or her journal. It is best practice for a chronological journal to be kept by the notary. 

The third part includes the notarial certificate which completes the process and states the facts. Then, the notary affixes a signature and seal to complete the notarization. This seal is universally recognized and gives documents weight in legal procedures.

Why Notarize Documents?

There are many reasons why documents must be notarized as mentioned below.

  • Prevent fraud
  • Provide protection in all legal matters
  • Fulfill the requirements set by law such as in the case of powers of attorney and deeds
  • Remove the need for any witness before the court
  • Enhance the value of a document

Conclusion

After you have finished reading our post, you will come to know how and why documents are notarized. If you ever engage in a legal proceeding, you will need to produce notarized documents before the court in order for those documents to be considered as evidence. Otherwise, the documents would be dismissed. It is important that you notarized necessary documents such as your deed, will, and title to stay on the safe side. You never know when you might need to produce the notarized documents. If you are not sure about the notarization process, you can always consult with your attorney to ensure that you understand its purpose.