Frequently Asked Questions
Some of your Questions:
- Who can be a credible witness?
- What travel fees can I charge?
- Can a notary notarize for an elderly person who cannot sign their own name?
- What are the steps to becoming a notary?
- Where should a notary keep his or her seal and journal?
- What is errors and omissions insurance?
- Can a notary offer legal advice or prepare legal documents for notarization?
- Can a notary notarize if the signer is not present?
- Can a notary refuse to serve people?
- Can you be a notary public in more than one state?
Q. Who can be a credible witness?
An uninvolved person (someone not mentioned in the document and not a family member). Neighbors and friends are commonly used.
Q. What Travel Fees Can I Charge?
There are a handful of states that regulate travel fees which can seriously affect your income as a mobile notary. However, most states allow the notary to charge whatever they like as a travel fee. Other states require the notary to agree with the customer either before engaging in travel or before affixing the notary seal what the travel fee would be which would be prudent in any case. Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington all have restrictions as to what travel fee a mobile notary can charge.
Q. Can a notary notarize for an elderly person who cannot sign their own name?
There is a signature by mark or by "X" procedure allowed in many states. This requires two subscribing or signing witnesses to be present, sign the journal, and each witness writes part of the signer's name on either side of the X.
Q. What are the steps to becoming a notary?
There is an application; sometimes mandatory schooling; some states have an online exam, others have no exam. Most states require the notary to take an oath of office that is filed with the county clerk where their commission is based; a notary bond is required in most states; then you would receive your commission document or be informed that it was prepared. Obtaining a notary stamp is the last step: some states require a written authorization certificate while others allow you to purchase one before you even filed your application.
Q. Where should a notary keep his or her seal and journal?
Many states require the seal and current journal in use to be kept under lock and key. Even if your state doesn't require this, it is prudent to keep that information locked up as the journal has legal significance as it is a record of the notarization of hundreds of documents and as the seal could be used by a fraudulent person.
Q. What is errors and omissions insurance?
It is usually not required by law in most states, but prudent to have some E & O insurance to protect yourself from lawsuits due to honest mistakes. Note that if you did something fraudulent, you are still personally liable even with Errors and Omissions Insurance.
Q. Can a notary offer legal advice or prepare legal documents for notarization?
The notary is not allowed to give legal advice and choosing the type of notarization would constitute legal advice. A Notary is forbidden from preparing legal documents or acting as a legal advisor unless he or she is also an attorney. Violators can be prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of law, so a Notary cannot answer your legal questions or provide advice about your particular document.
Q. Can a notary notarize if the signer is not present?
No, the signer must personally appear before the notary public. Some states allow a Proof of Execution where another person can appear before the notary and swear that a third party signed a document.
Q. Can a notary refuse to serve people?
Only if the Notary is uncertain of a signer's identity, willingness, mental awareness, or has cause to suspect fraud. Notaries may not refuse service on the basis of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer.
Q. Can you be a notary public in more than one state?
The answer generally is “no” — Notary commissions are not transferable betweenstates. ... However, in some jurisdictions it is possible to hold more than one Notarycommission if you live in one state and work in another that allows nonresidents to hold a Notary commission (see “More Than One Notary Commission?”