Do I Need This Notarized? 7 Times You Need a Notarized Document

“Do I need this notarized?” 

You’ve probably asked this question at least once before. For most processes that require a notarized document someone will let you know it is necessary. Still, it’s good to be informed of instances where you need a notarized record, just in case. 

Notarizing a document often includes this three-part process:

  • Vetting
  • Certifying
  • Record-keeping

Before we delve into the situations where you’ll need a notarized document, let’s look at where you can find a notary.

Finding a notary

Most notarizing takes place in some form of an office, including courthouses, banks, law offices, and shipping stores. You can also go with a mobile notary who will come to you by using a search tool to help you find a mobile notary near me. 

Now we’ll explore the different situations where you’re going to need a notary.

When you’re buying or selling a home

When buying, selling, or transferring a house, there are mortgage documents that require the signatures of the parties involved and necessitate the presence of a notary. 

Mortgage documents protect the lender from borrower default, making them crucial documents. Therefore, the original document has to be signed and notarized to certify that everything is correct and authentic. 

If you apply for a passport

If you’re merely renewing your passport, you probably don’t need to worry about getting anything notarized. However, applying for a passport for the first time may call for notarization. 

Passport application instructions warn applicants not to sign their application forms until they are in front of a passport-designated official. Be sure to check the stipulations of your application process to be sure. 

When you’re signing a custody agreement

Custody agreements are very serious because they involve the care and well-being of a child. While a signed custody agreement is not enforceable in court, it is required for custody cases to be notarized before it is presented to a judge. 

Once the parties have discussed and agreed to the terms, they must each sign the paperwork and have it notarized by a state-commissioned notary public. Then the parties can present it to a judge in court.  

The creation of wills and living wills

Depending on the state in which you live, you may need to get your will notarized. Your will dictates what happens to all of your worldly possessions after you pass away and is legally binding.

A living will, also known as advanced directives, must be notarized. Living wills outline a person’s future wishes in case something happens to make them incapable of making decisions. 

When using business documents

Many different types of business documents need to be notarized. Large and small businesses require plenty of documentation and signatures. Notarizing several of these items can help protect business owners, investors, and other participants. 

Documents like the following are often notarized in business:

  • Vendor contracts
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Commercial leases
  • Loan agreements 

Businesses can also choose to notarize employment contracts, though it’s not usually a requirement. 

If you need to assign a power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives lawful authority to another person. There are various types of power of attorney.

General documents give someone the authority to handle legal, financial, and medical affairs, while specific powers of attorney can allow someone temporary authority over tasks such as property management, bills, and other needed circumstances.

Because a power of attorney is such an influential document, one needs to be notarized to be legally acceptable.  

When using copies of various documents

Sometimes, you may be in a situation where you need certified copies of certain documents. For paperwork to be considered certified, it may have to be notarized. 

Some documents that may require certification include medical records, school transcripts, and legal documents. If someone needs copies of any official documents, they may request that they be notarized to ensure they are legitimate and not fraudulent. 

Parting words

Getting a document notarized can sound like a complex process, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In most cases, the party you’re working with will let you know what needs to be notarized and when, and you can also ask for additional help and information if you need it.

In the instances above, you typically need an in-person notary to certify your signature and legally notarize your document.


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