What documents need to be notarized?

A man uses his laptop to sort through documents that need to be notarized.

Not sure whether you should sign a document with a notary public present? Learn what documents need to be notarized and the easiest way to complete the process.

Why do documents need to be notarized?

Notarization is an essential part of signing contracts and many other official documents in order to help prevent fraud.

Notaries are local officials appointed by the state to serve as impartial witnesses. When a document needs to be notarized, it means you must have a notary public present to verify your identity and to witness the actual signature. The notary also verifies that you are signing willingly and that you are aware of the contents of the document or transaction.

They will then “notarize” the signed contract or other document by adding their signature and stamping it with their official seal.

List of documents that need to be notarized.

Not every document that needs to be signed needs to be notarized — only certain types of paperwork require a notary’s seal. While laws vary from state to state, they typically include real estate transactions, certain legal documents, many financial documents, and some forms related to healthcare. Documents that require notarization usually indicate that clearly, providing space for the notary’s signature and seal.

Some of the most common types of documents needing to be notarized are:

  1. Articles of incorporation
  2. Real estate contracts and property deeds
  3. Legal affidavits
  4. Loan documents
  5. Powers of attorney
  6. Passport applications

What should I bring for documents that need to be notarized?

When you’re preparing to have your documents notarized, you should make sure you have the necessary items to help for a smooth process. Here’s a quick list of what you should bring:

Prevent issues with documents that need to be notarized.

Before heading to a notary public, be aware of common pitfalls that can slow down or block the notarization process.

Get documents to be notarized online.

In most cases, a notary public must be physically present to verify identity, witness the signing, and stamp the document. However, you may be able to notarize your document using an online notary. Consult your legal counsel to confirm.

With a remote online notary, a notary public will witness the signing remotely via video chat. If they’re satisfied with the validity of the signature process, they can notarize your digital document remotely.

If appropriate for your specific contract, online signatures and notarization are the easiest ways to approve contracts and other important documents without ever needing to leave the comfort of your home.

Disclaimer. This article is for informational purposes only. Adobe does not and cannot provide legal, financial, accounting, or other related professional advice. Laws and regulations change frequently. You should consult an attorney, accountant, or other appropriate professional advisor regarding questions specific to your situation. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Adobe provides this material on an “as is” basis. Adobe disclaims and makes no representation or warranty of any kind with respect to this material, express, implied, or statutory, including representations, guarantees, or warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or accuracy.