What is a notary public?

How to get something notarized

Now that you know what a notary is and what they do, let’s talk about how to get something notarized, whether you need it for a home loan or are planning to create a will or other important document.

Step 1: Determine the type of notarization you need

The first step to getting something notarized is determining what type of notarization you actually need. If you’re going to take out a home loan, you’ll probably need an acknowledgment of receipt or signature witness, but if you only need a certified copy of your driver’s license, you won’t have may only need a copy of the certification.

Step 2: Make sure the document is complete and find a notary

Once you know which document you need to notarize, check that your document is complete. This means that there are no blank spaces, incorrect dates, or sections with incomplete information. Once you are certain that the document is in good condition, you can find a notary.

There are many places where you can find a notary public. A good place to start if you don’t know where to start is a local post office or solicitor’s office. You can even have notarized services done for you at the UPS store. There are websites, like the American Association of Notaries Public, who also have resources to help you find a notary near you.

Step 3: Bring acceptable ID

For the purposes of recognition or signing in front of a witness, bring several pieces of identification that the notary can use when verifying your identity. This includes things like your driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, etc. In some cases, you may also be able to bring a credible identification witness who can prove your identity to the notary.

In some states, there may be varying rules regarding who can act as a credible witness. In Florida and California, for example, a credible identification witness may not be someone who has a financial interest in the notarization-related transaction. This means that family members are often not qualified as witnesses.

Step 4: Make sure the name on the ID matches the name on the document

Before presenting your documents and ID to the notary, check that the name on your ID matches the name on the document you are notarizing. If you have recently changed your first, middle or last name and your ID does not match the name on your documents, the notary will not be able to certify them.

Step 5: Make sure every signatory is present

Before meeting with a notary, you must also ensure that all the people who sign or have signed the documents are present. If a party’s signature is certified, it must be there in person with the notary.

Step 6: Make sure the notary stamps the document

Once the notarization is complete, the notary will sign and stamp your document to legitimize it. Although your notary is unlikely to forget this important final step, it doesn’t hurt to check the documents before you leave.

Step 7: Pay the fees

Finally, once all the notarial services you need have been completed, you can pay the associated fees. If you take out a home loan, these fees will likely be part of the closing costs you pay on the closing date.

Garland K. Long