Can Lawyers Notarize Documents?


At some stage of your personal or professional life, you will need to have a legal or financial document prepared. This can include an affidavit, oath, or a living will. After that, you must determine whether to use the services of a notary public or a lawyer to notarize your financial, business, or legal documents. But can lawyers notarize documents? You should know that a lawyer can also notarize documents and offer notarization services.

In situations involving legal documentation for property ownership, real estate, and estate planning, notaries public and lawyers can perform similar services and provide legal counsel. Despite these similarities, there are some distinct differences between licensed attorneys and notary public, making each a better choice for specific situations and legal proceedings. This is why it is important to understand the difference between the two professions.

If you are confused about the difference between notaries public and a lawyer or want to know whether all lawyers offer notary services, we have you covered. Documents, such as separation agreements, can be notarized by either a notary public or a lawyer.

Can lawyers notarize documents?

Some states automatically authorize lawyers to perform notarial duties as an extension of their natural legal duties, however, this is not the case in all 50 states. In states that do not automatically commission lawyers to perform notarization, the lawyer must go through the usual notary application process.

Each state has its own set of laws and requirements when it comes to performing notarization, and it’s important to be familiar with these in order to ensure your seal is valid.

Wondering how to notarize a power of attorney or a marriage certificate? While attorneys and lawyers aren’t necessarily notary publics, they can sometimes act as notaries. In the US, notary laws and rules vary from one state to another. Keep in mind that all notaries must be officially sanctioned or mandated by the state before rendering notary services and demanding a fee or notary commission.

In some US states, lawyers are commissioned as public notaries, which means that they can notarize most documents. You should know that lawyers who are notaries are also known as notaries-at-law or civil-law notaries. These professionals can notarize documents and offer legal advice to their clients on financial and legal matters.

In other US states, only some lawyers or attorneys choose to become commissioned notaries and can’t notarize documents until their official notary application is approved. 

On the other hand, notaries who haven’t passed the bar exam are known as common-law notaries. They can notarize documents only and can’t provide legal advice on legal issues. 

What is the difference between a notary and a lawyer?

Wondering who can legally notarize a document? You have two options- a notary or a lawyer. The main difference between a notary public and a lawyer is that a lawyer can represent their clients in court proceedings while a notary can’t. A notary public is trained to serve as an official or legal witness to the execution of contracts, wills, agreements, oaths, affidavits, and other legal documents. However, a lawyer has the power to act as a notary and you can use them for notarizing documents.

As lawyers or attorneys are required to complete a higher level of schooling or education than notaries, they can represent people in all legal matters, including contentious legal matters and court issues. On the other hand, notaries are usually beholden to their commissioning territory, and not their employers.

However, members of a notary public also undergo rigorous schooling in order to receive their certifications.

In other words, notaries and lawyers can both provide legal services. However, notary services are only one specific part of the legal profession. So, for instance, you can have attorneys who also specialize in probate, or writing contracts or wills, as well as being a notary.

Notaries are extremely efficient specialists in the areas that fall under their purview.

What documents lawyers can notarize? 

If you’re looking for assistance with wills, complex real estate transactions, and other contentious matters, it may be more beneficial to hire an attorney than a notary public. Lawyers can notarize many types of documents, such as:

  1. Real estate documents
  2. Loan documents
  3. Commercial contracts
  4. Power of attorney
  5. Wills
  6. Representation agreements
  7. Advanced directives

What documents lawyers can’t notarize?

There are some restrictions or prohibitions on what notarizations any notary public can confirm, including lawyers. For example, like a notary, a lawyer can’t notarize a document in which they are a party or have a beneficial interest. This simply means they cannot notarize themselves. This is applicable even if there are additional parties in the transaction.

Lawyers cannot perform a notarization or provide notary services if they have a financial or other beneficial interest in the financial transaction. This rule is important because an attorney acting as a notary must serve as an impartial witness. So, a lawyer cannot notarize the following documents if they have a financial or other interest in the transaction:

  1. Business agreements
  2. Wills
  3. Trust deeds
  4. Power of attorney

How to notarize documents with PandaDoc Notary?

The main benefit of using online notary services, such as PandaDoc Notary, is convenience and ease. You can have your financial or business documents notarized without leaving your home or office. Also, you can often get it done more quickly than visiting a physical notary office. So, for a quick and hassle-free transaction, especially when you are pressed for time, it makes sense to try notarizing online.

And this is where PandaDoc Notary can help you get things done and get documents notarized with speed and convenience. With the unique ability to meet with an online notary virtually, you will be able to save both time and money. When working online, the notary has to verify your identity and then record your signature through video.

Some simple steps involved in getting a contract or document notarized through PandaDoc Notary include:

Step 1: Upload your documents

You can take a picture of your signed legal document or loan paperwork or upload a PDF file from your computer. You can also upload from a cloud storage service, such as Dropbox. No matter the time of day or location, or device, PandaDoc has notaries ready to complete all your notary requests!

Step 2: Confirm your ID

Now, you just have to confirm your identity with PandaDoc’s verification process. The platform uses identification verification technology in order to verify government-issued photograph IDs and passports.

Step 3: Join the session

You can connect to a live notary anytime and confirm your identity on a secure call or face-to-face on a webcam. Connect easily with a professional and licensed electronic notary public over live video in order to sign and notarize your important documents, such as wills and contracts. The PandaDoc Notary agent will verify your identity and witness your signature, assisting you throughout the process.

Get documents notarized online with PandaDoc Notary

While both lawyers and notaries can notarize documents, notarization has become simpler and hassle-free with remote or online notarization. Want to know how to notarize a document? Use PandaDoc Notary to notarize critical agreements and legal documents remotely. Contact us to learn how we can help you with your notarization needs.


Are attorneys notaries?

While an attorney can be (or become) a notary, not all attorneys can necessarily perform notarial acts.

Some states automatically commission attorneys to legally perform notarization duties, but not all states do. In states that do not, the attorney must go through the normal notary application process and be approved by the state before performing any notary acts.

Do lawyers have any limitations on what they can notarize?

A lawyer who is legally commissioned to perform notaries in the state they practice does not have any limits on what they can notarize, provided they are not a named party in the documents or are directly connected to any named parties.

A lawyer should always be aware of any specific state requirements and laws that apply to the notarization service they provide to ensure their notarization is considered valid.

Can an attorney notarize documents they prepared?

Generally speaking, an attorney can notarize documents they have prepared as long as they are not directly involved with or benefit from the proceedings. An attorney who is going to notarize documents that they prepared personally should be aware of any specific requirements or limitations that may be imposed by the state they practice in.

Can a lawyer notarize a will?

Yes, as long as a lawyer has been commissioned by the state they practice to perform notarization services, they can notarize a will or any other document type. Lawyers that are commissioned to perform notary services can carry out the same notarial acts as a non-lawyer notary.

Does an attorney need a notary stamp?

Yes, attorneys in all 50 states are required to have a valid notary stamp in order to perform any notarial acts. In addition to a seal, the attorney must also hold a valid notary commission. Attorneys must adhere to the same laws and regulations as non-lawyer notaries when it comes to performing notarial acts.