Notarizing a deed is the same as notarizing a permission slip which is the same as notarizing a million dollar loan transaction document. I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice. But, here is how I notarize documents. I perform the same steps each and every time.
(Feel free to click on the image and download it to print.)
STEP 1-Identify the Signer.
First, I ask for ID, and I identify the signer. If there is no ID, I can’t do anything for a signer.
STEP 2-Start a journal entry.
At the same time that I identify the signer, I start a journal entry.
STEP 3-Is the signer alert?
I gauge the signer’s alertness and awareness about signing the document. I don’t grill the signer on the meaning or purpose of the document. I might ask if he is aware of why he is signing the document, but only if I am not sure that the signer is alert.
It’s none of my business why he or she is signing the document, only if the signer knows why.
STEP 4-Make sure the document is complete.
I look over the document, scanning it for blanks. If there are blanks, I ask the signer to complete them. Once completed, I move forward. I don’t give the signer the answers to put in the blanks. If it doesn’t apply I will say, “Feel free to call someone if you need to.” They usually just write N/A and initial it.
STEP 5- Note the act to be performed.
I look at the certificate to determine the act that you are going to perform. I do not ask the signer to raise his or her right hand for any notarial act. It’s just a little bit dramatic for me and it is not required in my state; it may be in yours.
Step 5a-If a certificate of acknowledgement is attached to the document, the document may be signed before the signer meets with you. If it isn’t, the signer must sign the document before you complete the act. I ask the signer if she has signed the document for genuine purposes and for the reasons stated within the document. Some people ask the signer if they have signed the document of his/her own free will, etc. I don’t do that because that is covered under “genuine purposes.” If ever I think that a person is being coerced, I won't notarize the document. I have never run into a situation of coercion.
Step 5b-If a jurat is attached, you must see the person sign the document. If the document is already signed when the signer arrives, the signer will need to re-sign the document. I ask the signer if she swears or affirms the truthfulness of the statements she made within the document and if so, to please sign the document.
Step 5c-If a verification is attached, I do not have to see the person sign the document, but I must perform an oath. I ask the signer if he swears or affirms the truthfulness of the statements he makes within the document.
Step 5d-If no certificate is attached, show the signer samples of a certificate of acknowledgement, a jurat, and a verification, and ask which one the signer would like attached to the document. Once the signer chooses the certificate, perform accordingly as stated in 5a, 5b, or 5c above.
STEP 6-Complete the certificate and journal entry.
Complete the certificate, sign it, seal it, and complete the journal entry.
STEP 7-Issue a receipt.
By law, many states' notaries are required to provide an itemized receipt to anyone that pays for notary services.
Notaries: We are public servants.
We took an oath to know our laws and to uphold them.
If we aren’t going to become familiar with our notary laws, yet we still
charge for our services...isn't that fraud?