Notarizing documents ensures they’re legally binding while helping to prevent fraud.
WHAT IS NOTARIZATION?
Make sure your documents are legally binding and recognized as authentic with notarization.
Notarization is the act of authenticating and certifying documents so there’s no question about them being fraudulent. Often referred to as a notarial act, notarizations happen in three steps. A Notary public officially witnesses the signing, identifies the signers and then seals the document.
There are three reasons why a document may need to be notarized. First, it guarantees that the signer is legally who they say they are. Second, it ensures that the signer is signing without any duress. And finally, it makes certain that the notarization can be verified and trusted long after the completion of the signing.
Notarization can certify that your estate planning documents are legally binding and authentic by adding a third, non-interested party who can oversee the process without expectation of any benefits or reward.
Elements of Notarization
Notarization isn’t difficult, but there are a few components that are necessary. Typically the following will be part of a notarization process.
The signer’s name must be present on the document. The signer must sign with an original (often in-person) signature. And, the notarial certification must be added, either as an attachment or actually on the document.
The Notary as Witness
There are three possible ways to witness a notarization: If the document or a notary certificate has the phrase “subscribed and sworn/affirmed to me,” the document must be signed in front of the notary.
Sometimes, a document is already signed when it’s brought to the notary. If this is the case, the notary will generally ask the signer to re-sign the document in his or her presence.
Finally, not all documents are required to be signed in the presence of a notary. However, usually the signer will still have to appear, state they are the official, legal signer and generally show a form of identification.
There are times when a verbal administration of an oath can be made. A question is asked such as: do you swear or affirm that the statements contained in this document are true.
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