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Why are Documents Notarized?

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Why are Documents Notarized?

Documents are notarized to deter fraud and to ensure proper execution. It is the responsibility of the notary public to ensure that the signers have appeared before them and have produced proper identification. The Notary Public officiates at the signing and insures that the documents are signed correctly. The notary makes sure that the signers are entering into agreements knowingly and willingly.

For a document to be notarized, it must contain the following elements:

  1. Text committing the signer in some way
  2. An original signature of the signer, not a photocopy (if a signature is required).
  3. A notarial "certificate", which may appear on the document itself or on an attachment.
When Witnessing a signature on a document the following applies:
  1. If the notary certificate states "subscribed and sworn/affirmed to me...", then it must always be signed in the notary's presence.
  2. If the document has already been signed, the notary should ask the person to sign the document again, either above or below the previous signature.
  3. An acknowledgment does not need to be signed in your presence. The person who signed the document must appear before you and acknowledge that they are the signer and that they signed it.
Verbally administering an oath when performing a verification (Jurat) do the following:
  1. A verification (Jurat) contains the words "subscribed and sworn (or affirmed) before me...." When this language is used, you must verbally administer an oath to the signer prior to the execution of the document.
  2. An oath can be administered as follows: "Do you swear that the statements in this document are true?” When a person is unable to “swear” due to personal or religious beliefs, the following oath may be used: “Do you affirm that the statements contained in this document are true?"
  3. To notarize the Jurat without administering the oath can affect the validity of the document.


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