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when and why you need a notary

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to When and Why You Might Need a Notary

by Martha Simmonds
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While most business owners, lawyers, or real estate agents are no strangers to the constant companionship of a notary, much of the general public isn’t quite as familiar with a notary’s work.

A notary is a public servant who witnesses the signing of important documents and ensures that they are correctly executed, legally legitimate, and that all parties involved understand what they’re acknowledging.

Even if you aren’t often spending time in courtrooms or overseeing real estate transactions, you might need a notary’s services at one point or another. Check out this complete beginner’s guide to when and why you might need a notary.

Why you may need a notary

The general public may require a notary’s services for several reasons, the most common being that the individual is buying or selling commercial or residential property. Real estate documents must be notarized to be considered legally valid in most states. If you sign a mortgage or other loan agreement, you will also need to have the document notarized.

Those who are executing a will or power of attorney, signing divorce papers, interacting with construction companies, or setting up a trust will likely find themselves in the presence of a notary since such critical documents must be witnessed and notarized to become legally legitimate.

How to find a notary

If you find yourself needing a notary, there are a few different ways to access one. Perhaps the most straightforward course of action is searching online or checking the yellow pages under “notaries” or “legal services.” Many banks and credit unions also have notaries on staff, and some even offer notary services on a walk-in basis.

When choosing a notary, it’s essential to make sure that they are reputable and trustworthy. Luckily, most notary services found online will be accompanied by customer reviews.

Readers looking for notarization services can also contact a reputable agency like Superior Notary Services. Once you’ve found a notary, you can call ahead and make an appointment to use their services.

How to prepare for a notary appointment

Before you head to your notary appointment, make sure you come prepared with the required documents that the notary has asked you to bring. You will also need to show the notary your identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

The notary will then witness your signature on the document and provide their signature and stamp. After the document has been notarized, it will be legally binding and legitimate.

How much do notaries charge?

Notaries typically charge per performed service, and costs vary from state to state. Some notaries may also charge a flat rate for certain services, such as real estate closings.

Be sure to ask about pricing when you call to make an appointment. Note that lawyers also have notarization powers if you have easier access to a lawyer than a notary.

What to expect at a notary appointment

Luckily, notary appointments are usually quick and easy. However, it’s essential to make sure that you understand what you’re signing before you put your name on the dotted line. If you come prepared, you can expect the appointment to last about 30 minutes.

If you choose notary services from a notary public office or a bank, the notary will take you to a private area to sign your documents. If you go somewhere like the UPS Store, they will notarize your documents on the service counter.

In conclusion

Notaries play an essential role in the day-to-day transactions of multiple industries. If you need to sign a document that must be notarized, follow the tips in this article to find a reputable notary in your area and come to your appointment prepared to receive a seamless and straightforward service.

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