What a notary public does is witness the signing of the documents and ask each party for a sworn oath of authenticity. A notary license holder is a person legally authorized by a state to administer oaths, take acknowledgments & certify documents. A notary shall exercise no power or jurisdiction in criminal cases.
A notary must ensure that the person signing a document to be notarized is who s/he says s/he is. Because identities are critical, a notary public may also spend some time verifying the names of the parties involved in the signing.
One misconception about a notary license is that his or her official signature and/or embossing stamp automatically makes a document ‘true and legal’. Documents certified by notaries public are sealed with the notary’s seal and are recorded by the notary public in a register maintained by him/her.
The license holders seal shall either be a seal press or a rubber stamp. These shall be the exclusive property of the notary. Their signature and seal is required to authenticate the signatures on many legal documents. They then verify the person’s identity, usually done with a driver’s license, press the seal on the document and sign it.
If you’re an inpatient, you may also ask your nurse or unit clerk to arrange for the services of a notary public without charge. Additionally, mail-box shops, copy services, and banks often provide notary services to the public.
Authentication of a Notary Public’s signature is often required when foreign and other jurisdictions are involved. The public may access this record and verify the “official” signature of the notary at the county clerk’s office. If not, then a sample of the Notary’s signature and seal must first be authenticated by the appropriate provincial authority responsible for Notaries Public.
Each license holder shall have a seal of office, which shall be affixed to his instruments of publications and to his protests. The term of office is usually four years beginning with the effective date specified in the notarial commission. The Office of the Secretary of State performs random background investigations on individuals submitting new or renewal notary public license applications. The applicant cannot act as a Notary Public until he receives his certificate of appointment from this office. An appointed license holder may begin notarizing documents after receipt of a certificate of appointment from the Secretary of State.