Certain documents are ineffective if they are not notarized.
Many people do not know what a notary is until they require one.
Getting a signature and stamp on a piece of paper may seem unimportant.
It may be tempting to ignore this step for legal documentation.
According to a recent WTOP article entitled “What Is a Notarized Document — and Where Can I Get Something Notarized?,” underestimating the impact of failing to get a notary can be devastating.
Although finding a notary to notarize a document was more challenging during the pandemic, any documentation was still required to meet legal standards.
In short, paperwork was still required to be notarized.
Why is notarization important?
It protects against fraud.
To have a document notarized, you must work with a notary.
A notary is authorized to act as a witness and gatekeeper during the signing of important papers.
Because notaries are given their authority by the government, they are required to follow specific rules as they adhere to regulations and state laws.
To have a document notarized shows it is legitimate and authentic.
Specifically, it demonstrates the signers were who they said they were, were acting voluntarily, and understood the contents of the documents being signed.
Notarizations are also know as notarial acts.
There are three common types of notarized acts.
What are they?
The first are considered acknowledgments.
These occurs when the signer states he or she is the person who signed the documents and understands the contents of the document being signed.
Examples of documents notarized in this way are power of attorneys and trusts.
The second are Jurats.
Aside from the cool name, Jurats focus on the truthful nature of the paperwork and are common in civil and criminal justice systems.
The third are certified copies.
If certain papers are copied or reproduced they must be notarized to be treated as valid.
If you require a notary, you should bring a current photo ID with a signature and physical description.
When documents are notarized, oftentimes they will be recorded in a chronological journal of notarial acts.
Should a document fail to meet any of the criteria involved for notary, the notary will not validate the document.
A document is officially notarized when a notary signs and places a seal of office on a notarial certificate.
The best way to protect your interests, whether estate planning or otherwise, are to follow these steps.
Reference: WTOP (Aug. 26, 2021) “What Is a Notarized Document — and Where Can I Get Something Notarized?”