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What is a Notary Public?

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What is a Notary Public?

A notary public is a person of proven integrity, appointed and commissioned by State government as a public officer whose function is to perform notarial acts as an impartial witness, verifying that a person is who he or she claims to be, and that the person is in the presence of the notary. Notaries will complete acknowledgments and/or affidavits and administer oaths, especially when handling property titles, grants, deeds and any power of attorney.

A notary is considered a "public official" and, as such, is held personally liable for any fraud or negligence in the performance of the duties of the office and is also, therefore, subject to legal prosecution. A notary is not licensed to practice law and may not, under any circumstances, give legal advice. Unless the notary is a practicing attorney within the state in which commissioned, offering any legal advice of any kind is deemed the unlawful practice of law. Acts that constitute the practice of law are the preparation, drafting, selection or determination of any legal document, or giving advice with relation to any legal documents or matters. The notary should decline any such tasks requested and should refer the individual to an attorney.


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