Debunking Common Myths About Notaries: 5 Things You Should Know

There are several myths about notaries’ roles in legal and business matters. Whether you’re a homeowner, a business professional, or someone needing a document notarized, knowing what notaries can and cannot do is essential.

These misconceptions may confuse the services notaries offer and the significance of notaries in different types of transactions. Let’s look at the top five myths regarding notaries:

Myth #1: Notaries Can Provide You With Legal Advice

Notaries may only offer legal advice if they also hold an attorney’s license. As objective witnesses to document signings, their main responsibility is to verify the identities of signers and the voluntary nature of their involvement. However, if the notary is also an attorney representing the client in court, it’s possible to provide advice.

Myth #2: Notarizing a Document Makes It the ‘Truth’

Despite common beliefs, a notary authenticates a document by confirming the signer’s identity and ensuring they were not coerced into signing it. This doesn’t confirm or approve the veracity or accuracy of the information in the document. So, notaries are in charge of notarizing papers; they are not in charge of the document’s actual content.

Myth #3: You Can Notarize Any Document

A document cannot be notarized unless it has wording that binds the signer in some way, requires the signer’s original signature, or has a notarial certificate attached to it or on the document itself. If a document has blank spaces, is incomplete, or the notary believes the transaction is fraudulent or unlawful, they must decline to notarize it.

Myth #4: All Notaries Have the Same Power

Different countries or states may have very different laws governing notaries’ functions and powers. Knowing the particular duties performed by notaries in your jurisdiction is crucial. A notary public may, for example, be permitted to officiate marriages in some states but not in others. Notaries must complete specialized training to handle real estate paperwork as loan signing agents. So, you should always verify notaries’ precise qualifications and state-specific restrictions.

Myth #5: Notaries Can Only Validate Signatures

People often assume notaries just check signatures on paperwork. In addition to witnessing the signature and confirming that all parties are willingly engaged in the transaction, notaries also ensure the signer is real. Beyond that, notaries serve as unbiased witnesses.

Now that you know what your notary can or can’t do, contact our notary service for all the documents you need notarized.