How to Become an Online Notary in Massachusetts How to Become an Online Notary in Massachusetts

How to Become a Notary Public in Massachusetts

How to Become a Notary Public in Massachusetts

To secure a commission as an online notary in Massachusetts, please adhere to the following procedures:

  1. Ensure you meet all established criteria as outlined by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.
  2. Download and complete the Massachusetts Notary Public application form. Attach a current curriculum vitae and a business card, if applicable.
  3. Have a Notary Public official notarize your application along with acquiring endorsements from four Massachusetts residents, one of whom must be a licensed attorney in good standing with the Massachusetts Bar Association.
  4. Upon notification from the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, pay the $60 commission fee to secure your appointment.
  5. Purchase a Notary Public seal and journal.
  6. Consider acquiring Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance to mitigate potential financial liability.
  7. Engage in ongoing professional development opportunities, such as continuing education courses offered by reputable Notary associations like BlueNotary Academy.

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What are the Requirements to Become a Notary in Massachusetts?

To be able to obtain a Notary Public Commission in Massachusetts, an individual should meet the following criteria:

  • Are you at least 18 years old?
  • Do you legally live or do business in Massachusetts?

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Notary Public in Massachusetts?

The price tag for becoming a Notary in Massachusetts has a few components:    

  • State Commission Fee: This fee is set by the state and won’t change depending on the vendor you choose. It currently sits at $60.
  • Notary Seal and Journal: The cost of these supplies can vary depending on the vendor and the quality you choose.

Don’t skimp here! A good quality seal and journal will ensure clear impressions and protect your records, potentially saving you headaches down the line.

New Notaries may need additional resources like training manuals, courses, or even live support from experts. These extras can add to the overall cost but can be helpful for beginners. Some vendors might add processing fees or bundle unnecessary extras into their packages. Shop around and compare options to find the best value.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Notary in Massachusetts?

Once you’ve filed your application, you will have to wait! The Governor’s office and the Secretary of the Commonwealth forecast a processing delay of as much as 18 days.

How Long is a Notary Commission Valid in Massachusetts?

You don’t need to retake the complete application procedure each year. A notary public commission in Massachusetts is valid for a span of seven years.

Do I need Training to Become a Notary in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts doesn’t have any prerequisites for preparing for formal training and exams to become a notary. Nevertheless, there is a smart point in this! All applicants must demonstrate familiarity with a specific law: Chapter 222 of the General Laws shall be revised by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016. Upon the submission of the form, an agreement will be made on these legal requirements that you have willingly confirmed you will abide by.

What Supplies Do Massachusetts Notaries Need?

To perform your official duties, you’ll need two key supplies: a Notary seal and a journal.

Notary Seal: It might be a seal, either a black ink stamp or an embosser. It is expected to include data including your name, “Notary Public,” “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” or just “Massachusetts,” together with your commission expiry and the Massachusetts seal. A different stamp can be used for a time-expiry date, but it has to be used along with the main seal.

When choosing a vendor for your seal, prioritize quality and durability to avoid ink bleeding that could cause document rejection. Consider getting a spare seal in case of loss and an embosser for added security against fraud.

Notary Journal: This is a legal record of all your notarizations. Look for a journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof binding to easily detect missing pages, which is especially important if you face a lawsuit. Regular notebooks or glued-bound journals won’t offer the same level of security.

Some vendors offer bundled packages with both the seal and journal, which can be cost-effective. However, compare the quality and content of each package before buying, as they can vary. Consider your expected number and types of notarizations when choosing supplies, especially if you’re new or renewing your commission.

What About Bonds or Insurance for Massachusetts Notaries?

A Notary Public in Massachusetts is not bound by paying a Surety bond. The majority of them do not subscribe to lawsuit insurance, but they opt for this kind of coverage in case of legal matters. Also, this insurance is not mandatory in Massachusetts for your consideration; instead, it can be one of the things you can consider when making your passwords for sureness.

Massachusetts Notary Public FAQs

Who Oversees Notaries in Massachusetts?

The Governor has the authority to appoint public notaries, while the Secretary of the Commonwealth, located in Boston, maintains official records and verifies the authenticity of their work.

Although Massachusetts does not require training, where can I get it?

A basic online search will show several continuing education training providers. However, the Commonwealth Secretary doesn’t have any workshops or seminars, nor do they endorse the accreditation of any training organizations. It is because they have no kind of regulation over these providers; therefore, you need to do research before enrolling in any of these programs.

Do I need help becoming a Notary, or can I go it alone?

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website comes with the official form, which you fill out. It also has instructions to guide you. This goes well with those who have been using self-service systems for quite some time. Yet, firms also exist that provide a comprehensive solution that covers training, supplies, insurance, and, in some cases, even assistance.

Where will I be able to notarize?

As a Massachusetts Notary, you’ll be authorized to perform notarizations anywhere within the state.

Who can I notarize for?

You can help virtually anybody with their notarization needs! It is impossible to notarize for yourself or for documents with a personal interest and for family and close relatives (including in-laws and step-relatives). Similarly, if you are involved in the activities such as notarizations, your employer may have restrictions as to what you can notarize during work hours.

How much can I charge for my notary services?

There’s no set maximum fee, but be reasonable! It’s good practice to inform people of your fees upfront to avoid any confusion. Excessive charges could lead to complaints being filed with the Governor’s Council.

How to Become an Online Notary in Massachusetts

Is Online Notary Legal in Massachusetts?

A law enacted in 2023 allows Massachusetts Notaries Public to utilize online communication platforms to perform notarizations. This is a significant step towards greater convenience and accessibility for both notaries and clients.

Before utilizing online platforms, notaries must complete specific training and submit an online notification to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

What happens if I move or change my name after becoming a Notary?

Being a Notary Public in Massachusetts, it is your responsibility to keep your contact information updated. If you change your place of residence or your legal name, you are required to report this to the Secretary of the Commonwealth within ten days.

  • Download and complete a signed notice of change form. This form should include both your old and new information (address or name).
  • Send the completed form to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

There’s a slight perk if you change your name. You can actually continue performing notarizations using your former legal name until your current commission expires. However, it’s still important to report the name change so your records are accurate for your upcoming renewal.

What’s the potential legal risk involved in being a Notary Public?

Even the most meticulous Notary can make errors. Any wrongdoing, both accidental and intentional, will result in severe consequences. Notaries can be liable or sued by signers if they incur financial losses because of those errors. Lawsuits are as costly even if you win.

However, by paying close attention to the demands of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Notary laws and regulations, you can drastically reduce the potential of making possible errors. Handling records that are well organized and complete is an essential part of notarizations as it protects you. Record-keeping done correctly may be the most effective evidence if/when any legal action should happen.

How do I renew my Massachusetts Notary Public Commission?

Five weeks before your commission expires, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will automatically send you a renewal application via mail. However, it needs to be noted that renewal applications are not available online at this time.

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