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How To Notarize A Document? 7 Easy Steps And How It Works

September 23, 2022
Inkit Team

Document notarization is an essential process for all critical papers. You need to notarize the documents if they deal with financial, legal matters, or involve a high degree of trust between all parties involved. 

When a document is notarized, it means a notary public has verified the authenticity of a notarized document after it is signed. It includes some witnesses and records for seeing the document's originality and assurance that the authorities can trust it. 

However, the process isn’t that straightforward, exactly.

A notary organization can’t simply sign a document and be done with it.

Wondering how the process works or how much you’ll have to pay to get a document notarized?

While it depends on a lot of different variables and factors, we’ll cover the general process and overall steps below.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What Is Notarization And How Does It Work?
  • Where Do You Get Your Documents Notarized?
  • What Is Digital Notarization And What’s The Difference?
  • 7 Steps To Get Your Paperwork Notarized

What Is Notarization And How Does It Work?

First things first, what is notarization, exactly?

Notarized paperwork or document means that they have a signature that makes it legitimate. It is not something that you must need for every paper, but some critical and formal documents need legitimate signatures to make them official.

We’ll cover some examples of what documents need to be notarized and how below, so, keep on reading!

The working process of paperwork notarization includes:

  • Document presentations.
  • Witness appearance.
  • Stamps.
  • Data writing.
  • And notary signatures

Notarization is a complete process that ensures your documents are legitimate. 

You can go to the notary for every paperwork, including the powers of attorney, deed of trust, certifications, rental agreement, and more.  Other documents that need to be notarized often include:

  • Articles of incorporation.
  • Commercial leases.
  • Legal affidavits.
  • Certified copies of documents.
  • Mortgage documents.
  • Employment contracts.
  • And more.

Below, we’ll also cover where you can get all these different types of documents notarized.

Why is it important to notarize my documents?

Having your important business documents notarized is a powerful risk management tool to prevent fraud and identity theft.

Moreover, it also takes a legal oath as authorities will never notarize the document unless they have a witness and sign it by the appropriate person.

If you sign a document without having any notarized person, you may need to return the unsigned document. However, when the witness signs the copy, the notary will compare the signature with your original document. 

It helps the notary to sign the document for you. Moreover, the notary will also notarize the original document and give it certified signs. 

Here are a few benefits of notarizing your documents:

  • Prevents contract disputes and offers legal protection in case your document is brought to question.
  • Deter fraud and identity theft.
  • Avoids the witness to present in court.
  • Enhance the credibility of the documents.
  • Fulfills mandatory legal requirements. 

In short, a notarization makes your document “official”.

If you’re doing business or going into an important, legal partnership or agreement with someone (organization or individual), it’s important you notarize the document or contract to be on the safe side.

What does the notary public do?

The primary duty is to ensure that all the signatures on every document are legitimate. It has different duties for ensuring the legal checks. 

To make your documents official, the notary also has other important responsibilities like:

Identity verification

The notary will perform the identification of a document to ensure its originality. 

The notary requires the identification of a person signing the documents and details. Moreover, they require the essential details to identify documents from each providing it.

Willing signers

A notary also must look for the signs of coercion. If you don’t like the data in the document and still you are signing it of your own will or somebody is saying it to you for any other reason.

Capable of sound decisions

It is the prime duty to verify the signers in any condition. It helps them understand what they are signing as they have the legal authority to sign it. 

If a notary person finds it intoxicated and unable to stand the reason, the notary can not sign or notarize the paperwork.

Where Do You Get Your Documents Notarized?

You can notarize your documents across different places, depending on your document type and geographic region.

Here are a few examples.

Financial institutions

Go to your nearest bank or credit union to get the notarization as it is one of the best places. 

There you can notarize cash flow statements, income statements, balance sheets, etc. Moreover, if you are an account holder, it is easier to get a notary from the bank or even for free. In addition, if you don’t have an account in a particular bank, then it may take some small fee. 

Other businesses

Significant businesses can also do the notaries. It depends on the documents and services where you get the document and notary. 

However, shipping stores, car dealerships, and many others can provide you with notary services. 

Examples of business documents that you can notarize include corporate powers of attorney, certificates of incorporation, contracts, certificates of good standing, and many more.

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Individual sources

You may take some time to find the respective sources who are registered for providing the notary services. 

Some of the common documents that you can notarize at the individual sources include beneficiary designations, powers of attorney, and other legal documents. However, they also provide an online notary, and you can get it by sitting at your home.

With that said, there are also different types of notarization you should consider, such as:

  • Signature witnessing - This is one of the most common types of notarization that requires a witness. The notary certifies the document you are claiming and also witnesses the sign.
  • Acknowledgment - This is a type of notary that conveys the assets of ownership, especially for property deeds, attorney papers, and many more. It requires the person to appear and declare the existing signature.
  • Copy certification - Copy certification is to certify the original document. It ensures that the document copy is accurate and complete. It is essential for a degree, passports, licenses, etc.

Though, one last type of notarization we need to cover is digital notarization.

What Is Digital Notarization And What’s The Difference?

Digital notarization is one of the most common notaries nowadays. 

You can find a variety of electronic notary services where you can connect and have your documents notarized. 

It includes video conference calls that help you to prove your identity and document authentications. Moreover, the notary person will also sign the document digitally.

Since in many states, digital notarization is not allowed, you need to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with state laws.  

Online digital notarization 

If you are interested in performing online digital notarization, Adobe Sign allows you to do the whole notarization process online.

infographic on the changes we've faced by implementing online signatures

Also, it makes it easy to send documents to parties and affix wet signatures. You can use its Notarize integration to notarize remotely as if you were physically present.

  • You can reap many benefits using Adobe sign including: 
  • Full document tracking and end-to-end support with digital signatures 
  • Hassle-free mailing, printing, and storage 
  • Audit trail for notarized documents storage 

As you might have guessed, online notarization and adding signature blocks are much more convenient than the physical alternative of going to a notary yourself.

If you decide on the latter, here’s what the process for that is like.

7 Steps To Get Your Paperwork Notarized

If you want to notarize your document, there are certain steps you need to follow.

The steps are as follows:

  • First, acknowledge the type of notarization you need.
  • Go over the documents and verify everything seems correct.
  • Identify the document signer(s).
  • Match the identity.
  • Go through a face-to-face interaction of the signer with the notary.
  • Ensure willingness to sign and that there is no coercion to sign.
  • Finally, acknowledge the charges set by the law.

Now, let’s take a look at each step of notarization in detail.

Step 1: Acknowledge the type of document notarization you need 

Ensure that you know about the type of notarization that you need for your documents. You can choose the acknowledgments, copy certificates, and jurats (clauses showing when, where, and before whom the oath was sworn or affirmation was made) according to your needs. It will also save your time and effort.

Step 2: Go over the document one last time

Before initiating the notarization process ensure that all your documents are complete.

Check that no empty spaces are present in the document and ensure to keep the original documents along with copies.

Step 3: Identify the document signer(s)

The notary needs the witness to assure the identity of your document. Bring the acceptable identification for a smooth notarization process. 

You can identify the signer based on your personal knowledge, credible identification by witnesses, and valid identity documents

Step 4: Match the identity 

Check your documents and ensure that your name matches the identity card. 

In any case, if there is any discrepancy in your name on any document, it will impede the notarization to proceed. 

Step 5: Go through a face-to-face interaction of the signer with the notary.

Ensure that all the signers are present at the notarization for getting the quick legitimation and signatures. 

In many states, it is not allowed to perform remote notarization over video or phone. 

Step 6: Ensure Willingness to sign 

It is vital to know the purpose of the signs. It helps you know about all the efforts that you are putting in to get the notarized documents. 

Ensure that you are mentally stable and stress-free at the time of notarization. 

Step 7: Acknowledge the charges set by the law.

Finally, you need to know what you are going to pay for getting the paperwork notarization. 

This will largely depend on your location and specific notary organization.

Each US state has its own set fees for notaries to perform notarial acts. If you’re looking for more information on that, see the 2022 notary fees by state guide for a detailed breakdown.

Conclusion

Hope this guide to notarization helped!

As outlined above, there are a lot of different types of documents that you might want to get notarized. 

But for the most part, the process and the steps will be more or less the same.

Depending on your workflow and document types, you might have to notarize your documents in person, instead of doing it digitally. This largely depends on your industry regulations, compliance, and local law.

Now, if you’re looking for more information to get the most out of your document management operations, you also might want to read:

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