Notarize for a family member or business: What you can and can’t do

Can you notarize for family x

Remote online notarization, also known as RON, has been one of the most remarkable developments in the business world in the last couple of years. Did you know that more states are now accommodating and recognizing notarizations conducted virtually? And the adoption of RON surged 547% in 2020, according to a recent survey from the American Land Title Association?

It is no secret that improvements in technology have started a gradual shift towards telecommuting and working from home for individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this change. You should know that as of June 2020, nearly 42% of the US workforce was working remotely full-time.  

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with its new social distancing norms and stay-at-home orders, many states have issued emergency authorizations allowing remote online notarization. 

You will be happy to know that remote notarizations allow individuals and businesses to have all their legal and corporate needs met without requiring time-consuming in-person interactions with a notary public.

As more states enact laws authorizing RON, the practice raises some key questions among signers and notaries alike. What is remote online notarization? Where can RON be performed? Who may request RON? What technology is needed? Let’s find out: 

  1. What is Remote Online Notarization?
  2. Can you notarize for a family member?
  3. Texas
  4. Florida
  5. Virginia
  6. Tennessee

1. What is Remote Online Notarization?

We can define Remote Online Notarization as a process that permits you to get documents signed, verified, and sealed without leaving the comfort and convenience of your home or office. You can virtually notarize documents, such as business contracts, using online technology tools. There is no need for participants to meet in person and use conventional wet ink signatures.

2. Can you notarize for a family member?

When it comes to notarizing for family, the legality of notarizing a document for your family member is the first and most important thing that needs to be considered. Remember that, like most things concerning notary law, it will depend on where you are or where you live. 

If requested to notarize for your family members, the first thing you should check is your state’s laws. This is because a few states still prohibit notaries from notarizing for most family members. On the other hand, other states prohibit notarizing documents for specific family members.

For instance, Massachusetts does not allow notarizing the signatures of a notary’s parents, spouse, or children.

3. Texas

Nothing is simpler and more convenient than having a capable and qualified family member when it comes to various aspects of life you may consider mundane. Tasks such as notarizing documents, like property deeds, can fall into this category.

However, keep in mind that convenience is not always the determining or key factor in whether or not you can or should use the notary status of that family member to help you.

For example, when a notary validates a specific document for a family member, there is a high risk or possibility that they stand to benefit from it financially in some way. As you can imagine, this can present a conflict of interest. So, it may result in an unethically validated signature that another unbiased notary should be present for.

Can you notarize for a family member in Texas?

In some states, the notary public is prohibited from notarizing the signatures of immediate family, like parents, a spouse, grandparents, grandchildren, children, sisters, brothers, stepbrothers, and stepsisters.

As discussed above, the act of taking and then certifying acknowledgments can’t be done by a notary public either financially or beneficially interested in the relevant transaction.

Note that Texas law doesn’t restrict you from notarizing for your family. However, it is worth noting that a Texas notary public should be an unbiased or impartial witness. This is why we strongly recommend that you don’t notarize for your family member. And the better and safer practice is to have another notary notarize their documents.

What documents can you notarize for family members in Texas?

As Texas does not prohibit you from notarizing for a family member, you can notarize various documents for your family members, such as brothers and sisters.

Examples of documents that you can notarize for your family members in Texas are as follows:

  • Birth certificate
  • State-issued identification card
  • Marriage certificate
  • US military ID; and
  • US passport issued by the US Department of State

While the state of Texas doesn’t forbid notarizing for your family members and relatives, you should not notarize a document if you stand to benefit from it—financially or otherwise. This is because your involvement in that document might discredit it in the future. 

At times, even if the document does not mention you by name, note that you would be deemed a beneficiary. For instance, in a community property state, any transaction involving your spouse may automatically include you as well.

Can you notarize for a business in Texas?

Yes, you can notarize for a business in Texas. There are many statutes that permit these notarizations. For instance, Section 121.002 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code authorizes employees of a corporation or business to take an acknowledgment of a document or written instrument in which the corporation or business has an interest. 

What documents can you notarize for a business in Texas?

Businesses usually need notary services. Although not every important business document requires notarization, note that some documents, such as loan agreements, require notarization. 

Examples of documents that you can notarize for a business in Texas are as follows:

  • Articles of incorporation 
  • Vendor contracts
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents
  • Commercial leases
  • Loan agreements
  • Construction agreements
  • Employment contracts

Remote online notarization in Texas with PandaDoc Notary

Are you looking for notarization services in Texas? Many Texas documents, such as state-issued driver’s license, must be notarized. You can use PandaDoc Notary as it provides businesses with a convenient, reliable platform to have their documents signed and notarized easily, and in minutes! The platform makes it simple to perform Remote Online Notarization. The platform leverages industry-leading technology in order to ensure seamless and secure notarial transactions.

4. Florida

Can you notarize for a family member in Florida?

Did you know that Florida prohibits public notaries from providing notarial services to immediate family members, such as sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, etc.? However, this means that you can notarize a document for other family members, such as your stepbrother, stepparents, and stepsister.

What documents can you notarize for family members in Florida?

In many cases, it is legally required to notarize certain documents in Florida that specify considerable monetary or financial transactions or confer specific legal rights. Examples of documents that you can notarize for your family members (excluding immediate family) in Florida are as follows:

  • Intent to Purchase Real Estate
  • Wills
  • Quitclaim Deed
  • Car ownership transfers

Can you notarize for a business in Florida?

You can notarize for a business in Florida as long as you meet certain conditions. Keep in mind that most business documents that require notarization can be split it into two major kinds: financial and legal.

As a notary, there are strict rules, conditions, and guidelines you must follow when you notarize a business document. If a specific document doesn’t meet those standards, it can’t be notarized. Remember that these prohibitions and conditions help protect the public while ensuring the credibility of the notary. 

These are just a couple of reasons a business document, such as a commercial lease, can’t be notarized:

  • The business document is dated later than the day or date of notarization, or the issued certificate is backdated. This is considered forgery and carries the risk of additional fines and even loss of the notary’s commission. 
  • It is not possible to positively identify the signer.
  • A signer isn’t physically present.

What documents can you notarize for a business in Florida?

As a notary, you may notarize a signature on a business document if you meet the following conditions:

  • The individual whose signature is being notarized is present before the notary public when their signature is notarized.
  • The business document is complete.

Examples of documents that you can notarize for a business in Florida are as follows:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Memorandum of understanding documents
  • Vendor contracts
  • Commercial leases

Remote online notarization in Florida with PandaDoc Notary

If you are looking for a Remote Online Notarization platform in Florida, PandaDoc Notary can help. With this platform, businesses can notarize any legal document in the blink of an eye.

5. Virginia

Can you notarize for a family member in Virginia?

A notary in Virginia must always be fully satisfied with the identity of the family member or person whose signature is being notarized. This means that a notary isn’t under any obligation to notarize an individual’s signature without being certain that the person is who they claim to be. Like other states, Virginia notaries can’t perform any notarial act that presents a conflict between their official duty and personal interest.

What documents can you notarize for family members in Virginia?

As a notary in Virginia, you can notarize various documents for a family member. Some of these documents are:

  • State-issued identification card
  • US military ID; and
  • US passport issued by the US Department of State

However, you are not authorized to notarize birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates. Also, a notary isn’t authorized to perform a marriage or any act that constitutes the practice of law.

Can you notarize for a business in Virginia?

In 2012, Virginia became the first US state to authorize or allow its notaries to perform RON legislatively. You can notarize for a business in Virginia, and online notarization is much faster and more secure compared to in-person notary services.

Today many banks and financial institutions authorize their employees to notarize documents. And this is well within the bank’s authority to do so.  On the other hand, some employers and businesses want to restrict the liability of employee notaries and might impose guidelines.

What documents can you notarize for a business in Virginia?

A notary has to first register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and demonstrate specific technological capabilities pertaining to e-signatures and seals.

Examples of documents that you can notarize for a business in Virginia are as follows:

  • Vendor contracts
  • Articles of incorporation 
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents
  • Loan agreements

Remote online notarization in Virginia with PandaDoc Notary

PandaDoc Notary assists businesses, and corporate entities in Virginia with notarizing documents for use. It is a one-stop shop for notary services in Virginia. PandaDoc Notary endeavors to make the difficult and time-consuming process of notarization as painless and simple as possible.

6. Tennessee

Can you notarize for a family member in Tennessee?

As a notary, you are allowed to take an acknowledgment or affidavit of a non-resident of Tennessee, provided that the individual is physically present within the state. However, a notary shouldn’t acknowledge their own signature. You cannot notarize your family member’s signature if you are a party to the transaction. 

Here is another condition. A notary shouldn’t notarize their spouse’s signature. This is because of the requirement that notaries discharge all their duties “without favor or partiality.”

What documents can you notarize for family members in Tennessee?

You can notarize various documents for your family members, except your spouse. Tennessee notary public may not perform any notarial act with respect to any record, such as a will, in which the notarial officer or the spouse of a notarial officer has a direct or financial interest.

Examples of documents that you can notarize for your family members in Tennessee are as follows:

  • Birth certificates
  • State-issued identification cards
  • Marriage certificates

Can you notarize for a business in Tennessee?

Yes, you can notarize for a business in Tennessee. With an acknowledgment, you can attest that the signer understands the business document and that the signature is indeed the signer’s. And with an affirmation or oath, the notary certifies or attests that the signer, under penalty of perjury, assures that a business document’s contents are accurate and true.

What documents can you notarize for a business in Tennessee?

As a notary, you may notarize a signature on a business document if you meet the following conditions:

  • The individual whose signature is being notarized is present before the notary public when their signature is notarized.
  • The signer owns a valid photo ID 
  • The business document is complete

Examples of documents that you can notarize for a business in Florida are as follows:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Memorandum of understanding documents
  • LLC Operating Agreement
  • Non-Compete Agreement
  • Commercial leases
  • Bill of sale

Remote online notarization in Tennessee with PandaDoc Notary

Do you need notary services for your business in Tennessee fast? If you are sending documents overseas, they might need notarization first. Bring your own notary to witness signatures as well as authenticate on a wide range of financial, legal, and other company certificates, documents, and declarations, all inside PandaDoc Notary

Whether you are setting up a business or company abroad or need to send an attested degree certificate quickly to some other state, PandaDoc Notary can help you. 

Final thoughts 

Remote Online Notarization is rapidly becoming more prevalent. This is especially given the massive push, borne of necessity, during the coronavirus era. Using this technology, businesses can notarize documents legally, securely, and fast. Remote Online Notarization will stay and likely become mainstream in the next few years.

Guy Pearson has been a commissioned notary for more than seven years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization (RON), with more than 7000 members nationwide. Guy is the co-founder and product leader of PandaDoc Notary. His team drives product initiatives in key verticals, such as Legal, Financial, and Real Estate.