Need a Notary? A Business Owner's Guide to Notarizing Documents

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jan 2, 2019

Jan 2, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you recently start a new business? If so, you've probably got a lot on your mind. There are endless tasks to tackle when getting a business on its feet.

Some of those tasks are obvious, such as getting a business license and hiring employees. But there are other tasks that are highly important that may be forgotten until later.

Notarizing documents is one of those tasks. Many business owners don't think of this need until it arises, but you can get a jump on things by starting early.

Ready to get going? Here's our guide to why you need a notary and how to find one.

What Is a Notary?

Notary publics (often just called notaries) are people who have received state training and have the legal authority to notarize. This means they can give their signature and official seal stating that you are who you are and that you signed the document.

They do more than just verify that you are who you say you are, though. Notaries also signify that you weren't compelled to sign and that everything looks good with the document.

These people are located in several locations and aren't usually difficult to find. Many offer services free of charge.

To get a document notarized, simply visit a location where you know a notary is present. Bring verification of your identity, the document that needs to be signed, and payment if required. Fill out the document, but don't sign it before you visit the notary.

Who Can Notarize Documents?

Only trained notary publics can notarize documents. Anyone else does not have the legal authority to notarize your signature. Having a regular person witness your signature and say that they did does not mean the document was notarized.

Why Your Business Needs a Notary

Notaries are required if a signature needs to be verified. The notary watches you sign the document and bears witness that you are the person you say you are.

This adds added security and truth to the document. Notarized signatures hold much more weight behind them because anyone using or viewing the document knows for a fact that the signatures were not forged.

Sometimes you'll need to notarize the original document. In other cases, notarized copies of the original will suffice. Make sure you know which option applies to your situation.

On the flip side, you may want to require notarized documents, depending on your services. If property is involved or there's any chance that someone may want to back out of an agreement, getting notarized signatures is a good idea.

If a signature is notarized, you have proof that the person did indeed sign the contract or document in question. That means they won't be able to back out of the agreement. If they try to, you'll have proof you can take to court.

For more insights into the importance of getting a notary, read more now at Fingerprinting Express.

What Documents Should Be Notarized

There are many types of documents that can be notarized. Your state may require that certain documents must be notarized, so make sure you're familiar with local laws.

Here's a list of some types of documents that are commonly notarized:

  • Wills
  • Property deeds
  • Mortgage closing documents
  • Custody agreements
  • Advance directives
  • Power of attorney
  • Grand deed
  • Rental agreement
  • Name affidavit
  • Contract
  • Demand letter
  • Modification agreement
  • Student enrollment verification
  • Unclaimed property form
  • Bill of sale
  • Authorization

This is far from a comprehensive list. Consider the documents you're likely to encounter in your business and find out which ones should be notarized.

Where to Find a Notary

There are several places where notaries can be found. Here's a list of helpful places you can look to find one for your business. Some may charge for notary services while others may not.

Banks

Banks offer free notarizing services. Simply bring your document(s) to the bank and a notary public will get the job done. Don't forget to bring a photo ID.

Other Financial Institutions

If you handle finances through an institution other than a bank, check to see if they have a notary public. There's a good chance that they do.

Public Offices

There are several public offices that will likely have a notary available. These include public libraries and clerk or court offices.

Mobile Notaries

Some notaries offer mobile services. This means they'll come to you. While this may be more convenient, it will likely cost you more.

Car Dealerships

Since cars are worth a fair bit of cash, you may find a notary at one of your local car dealerships.

Shipping Stores

You might be able to find a notary at a shipping store, such as UPS. This is because some notarized documents have to be mailed overnight.

Hire Your Own

If you know you'll need to have documents notarized often, you may want to simply hire your own. Consider if the cost of hiring another member of staff is worth the convenience of having a notary on site. Depending on your needs, you may find that it is.

Notarizing Documents Is the Way to Go

If your business uses documents that must be 100% verifiable, notarizing documents is the way to go. If you take the time to use a notary, you'll always know your most important interactions were on the up-and-up.

Simply find one or more notary publics in your local area and utilize their services. Or hire one of your own for ultimate convenience.

Do you need help keeping your business budget in line? Check out these helpful tips.