Many people use the term “notarization” or to “notarize a document” without understanding what it really means. There are basically two types of acts that are considered notarizations:
- Certified copies
- Witnessing your signature in a legal document to be used before an authority
To certify a copy, the notary must have the original document in front of them and compare it to the copy in order to get it sealed (notarized).
Now that many documents are issued electronically, it is possible to certify an electronic copy only if the notary feels certain that the electronic document is downloaded directly from the official website, printed out by the notary and that it is the only way to access such a document.
Witnessing a signature
This is the most common procedure to “notarize a document”. These are sworn statements or declarations that need to be signed “before” or “in front of” the Notary. This includes statutory declarations, powers of attorney, court forms, etc. The documents must be signed before the notary, hence, do not sign the document in advance and even if you fill out the forms, please wait to sign until you are with the notary.
Why is it necessary to notarize a document?
Notarization is a fraud-deterrent process that ensures a document is authentic and can be trusted. Authorities rely on the notarization process to complete important legal transactions. Notaries are honorable professionals and trustworthy individuals whose signatures on a document mean a document has the value required for the next step within a legal transaction.
How long does it take to notarize a document?
The notarization act takes only a few minutes, however, prior to the signature, there are some steps that the notary and their working staff must follow such as:
- Verifying your identity
- Ensure you are a willing signer
- Ensure you are capable of acting
Also remember to bring your original photo ID and the document unsigned.