How to get documents notarized.

When it comes to legal matters, notarization keeps things above board. Learn how to notarize legal documents and explore the future of online notarization.

A person talking on the phone while sitting at a table with a laptop and a cup of coffee

Signed, sealed, delivered.

 

Odds are, at some point, you’ve encountered a notary or needed to get a document signed in front of one. The notarization process deters fraud and ensures that individuals or groups that are part of a transaction are acting authentically. Sometimes referred to as “notarial acts,” notarization is a three-part process performed by a certified Notary Public or someone holding a notarial certificate. 

 

The process includes vetting (ensuring that what is happening is legal and can be trusted), certifying (overseeing the signing process with a notary seal), and finally, record-keeping. Notaries make sure the signers of a given document are who they say they are, are participating of their own free will, and are aware of what they are doing. The process is designed to prevent forgery, coercion, and incompetent signing that creates legal problems, such as penalty of perjury.       

 

 

Types of notarization.

 

There are several different types of notarization, in many different contexts; here are the most common types.

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A person holding a pen while going over documents with a colleague

Signature witnessing

 

This is the most common form of notarization. A notary’s presence certifies that the person signing is who they say they are and did indeed sign the document. They often provide a notary signature demonstrating this.

 

 

Acknowledgment

 

This type of notarization is required when ownership of assets like property, powers of attorney, or trusts are transferred. For acknowledgment, you’ll be required to appear in person and declare that the signature on a given document is yours and that you agree with any changes or new terms.

 

 

Certification

 

For certification, a notary will make a copy of an original document and certify that the contents of the document are true, exact, and complete. Often this is done with transcripts, passports, and driver’s licenses.

 

 

Jurat

 

Jurat is far less common, but it’s used for evidence-related documents and affidavits (written statements), which require you to sign and swear that the evidence you’re giving is true. Jurat notarization is often used to establish a credible witness for legal depositions and court settlements.       

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How to get paperwork notarized.


Getting a document notarized is easy because most banks have a notary public on staff. If you’re looking to get a notarization, this is often the best place to go, and many of these banks provide notary services for free to their customers. Many public offices or public officials often have a notary on staff as well.

 

Other financial service providers, like credit unions, real estate firms, and tax preparers, also have notaries available and provide that service to their clients. Many legal firms even have a mobile notary who can travel to witness signatures. 

 

 

Electronic notarization

 

Electronic or online notary services are a tricky business. Many states don’t allow signatures to be notarized digitally, so an in-person visit is often still required. However, some areas are relaxing these rules — opening the door for notarization over video chat and other conferencing services. It depends on the type of document and your area’s notary laws.

       

To determine whether you’re allowed to notarize digitally, get legal advice to ensure that what you’re doing complies with state law. A notary that helps enable an online signature when it’s unlawful could be charged with unauthorized practice of law.       

Example of signing a document with Adobe Sign

Digital notarization and Adobe Sign.

 

Adobe Sign offers powerful digital signature solutions, and now with a new partnership with Notarize, there are more ways than ever for electronic notary services to flourish where and when they’re allowed.

       

Start your signature workflow within Adobe Sign, sending out documents to necessary parties so they can affix their signatures. Then, with the integration with Notarize, execute remote notarization as if you were there in person.

       

Adobe Sign also offers some powerful cost-reducing assists:

  • Less printing, filing, mailing, and storage hassles

  • Going end-to-end with digital signatures and document tracking

  • Storage for e-signed and notarized documents with a tamper-evident audit trail

  • Use of the Bring Your Own Notary service in Notarize to support your in-house notary

       

Every year, more than 1.25 billion documents are notarized by more than 4.5 million notaries in the US alone. That’s a lot of time that can be saved with Adobe Sign. Get started right away with powerful tools that will turn your business into a well-oiled machine.    

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