Businesses require many different types of people to work: leaders, employees, outsourced workers, to name but a few. However, one type of person that is essential to working businesses (but who isn’t often talked about) is a notary.
A notary is a qualified lawyer whose role is multifaceted. Most commonly, notaries are used to witness the signing of documents. They also act to ensure everyone who signs an important document is:
- a) Acting in their true identity
- b) Aren’t under duress or intimidation to sign
- c) Aware of all the contents of the document they are signing
There are several different scenarios in which you might need a notary. Knowing these situations can help you to plan ahead when they come up, making the process as smooth as possible.
As mentioned above, signature witnessing is likely the role that most people associate with notaries.
When you hire a notary, they will check that everyone signing the document is certified as the person they claim to be and that their signature is, in fact, theirs.
In these scenarios, the notary will only witness the signing. However, as you’ll see later, sometimes notaries have a more active role in business operations.
A notary should help your business from running into any contractual issues that may arise from a false signature or issues of identity.
Acknowledgments are very similar to witnessing signatures. However, with acknowledgments, notaries are required to ensure that everyone signing the document is doing so willingly.
Your business might want to hire a notary for this role when dealing with documents that relate to valuable assets. This could include mortgages, deeds (and deeds of trust).
This is essential for a business to avoid trouble with signers doing so under duress. This could void the entire transaction and cause plenty of trouble. A notary should make the process safe, respectable, and genuine.
Notaries can also be used for jurats. A jurat is a simple way to confirm that everything within a document being signed is true. Sometimes jurats are called ‘a verification of oath’ or ‘a verification of affirmation.’ All these titles mean the same thing; they simply have different names depending on the jurisdiction the document is being signed in.
This is essential to getting a true signature. For, if the contents aren’t true, legal trouble can cause headache for your business.
Oaths and affirmations
Notaries can provide witness to oaths and affirmations where a jurat isn’t possible. This role is the same as the jurat role, but instead of a physical signature, a verbal affirmation is given.
Another role you may want to hire a notary for is copy certification. Copy certification is necessary when an important document has been copied. Notaries are needed to affirm that the copy is an accurate copy of the original document.
You may need a copy certification from a notary when dealing with driver’s licences, contracts, diplomas, bills of sale, medical records, and social security cards.
Whoever owns the original document carries the burden of having it notarized—so if this is an issue of employment, you may not be the one responsible for hiring a notary. It is always best to check who needs to get this sorted in order to keep the process running smooth.
If you are operating in the US, it is also essential to check your state laws. Some US states do not allow this role of the notary. Some states are more specific and will allow a notary to take on this role regarding certain documents and not to others. Check the guidelines to determine which documents need a notary and which don’t.
Does your business need a notary?
If you are still unsure if your business needs to hire a notary, you should ask yourself: what kind of business do I run? Some businesses are more likely to need a notary than others.
Mortgage and insurance companies regularly need to use notaries, due to the high level of important documents they deal with. Signing for a home requires lots of legal processes that often include binding documents. As you can imagine, with documents as legally and financially significant, checking the accuracy and truthfulness of both the signers and the document itself is essential.
You can find a notary online easily. Once you’ve found one that suits, you can go on to have documents signed and checked quickly, improving the efficiency of your business.