What is a notary?

How to get something notarized

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

Step 1: Determine what type of certification you need

The first step to getting something notarized is to determine what type of notarization you actually need. If you are looking to take out a home loan, you will likely need an endorsement or notarization of signature, but if you only need a certified copy of your driver’s license, you may only need a notarized copy.

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

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

There are many places where you can find a notary. A good place to start if you’re not sure where to start is a local post office or law office. You can even have some notarial services done for you in the UPS store. There are some websites such as American Association of Notaries Public, who also have resources to find a notary in your area.

Step 3: Bring an acceptable form of ID

For the purpose of acknowledging or notarizing a signature, bring several pieces of identification that the notary can use to verify your identity. This includes things like driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, etc. In some cases, you may also be able to provide a credible witness who can prove your identity at the notary.

Some states may have different rules about who can serve as a credible witness. For example, in Florida and California, a credible witness may not be someone who has a financial interest in the notarization transaction. This means that family members are often not qualified as witnesses.

Step 4: Make sure the name on the ID card 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 name, middle name 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 all signers are present

Before meeting with a notary, you should also make sure that everyone who will sign or have signed the documents is present. If a party’s signature is notarized, they must be present in person at the notary.

Step 6: Make sure the notary public stamps the document

Once the notarization is complete, the notary will sign and stamp your document to legitimize it. While your notary is unlikely to forget this important final step, there’s no harm in checking the documents before you go.

Step 7: Pay Fees

Finally, after all the notarial services you need are completed, you can pay the associated fees. When you close a home loan, these fees are likely part of the closing cost that you pay on your closing date.

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