How to notarize a document

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Many people encounter situations where they need to notarize a document at some point in their lives. While the process can seem complicated at first, knowing how to organize and prepare a document for notarization can help ensure the process goes as smoothly and easily as possible. This short guide breaks down everything you need to know about the different types of notarization and how to notarize a document. 

Remote Online Notarization (RON) vs. traditional notarization

Nowadays, when you need notarization services, there are several different ways you can go about it. Most people are already familiar with or have already used traditional notary services in the past. When we talk about “traditional” notarization, we are specifically referring to services that require you to meet with a notary public in-person, face to face. 

The two types of traditional notarization are walk-in notaries and traveling/mobile notaries. Here is how the two traditional notarization services differ:

  • Walk-In Notary: You schedule a time with your signers to go visit a notary public at their office and pay a fee to have your document(s) notarized in-person. This service typically requires advanced scheduling and a bit of a time commitment, as you will have to account for travel time, expense, and potential delays.
  • Travelling & Mobile Notary: For a fee, you schedule a place and time in advance for a mobile notary public to come to you to notarize your documents in person. While this is more convenient than visiting a walk-in notary, it is also usually the most expensive option as you will have to pay extra for the notary’s travel expenses and time. Mobile notary services usually take the longest to arrange, as you are at the whim of the traveling notary’s schedule and availability.

Due to various circumstances over the past few years, Remote Online Notarization (RON) is quickly becoming the preferred notarization method for individuals and SMBs alike as more states continue to enact permanent RON law

Remote Online Notarization allows you to skip the inconvenience and fees associated with traditional notarization services by allowing you to complete a notarization virtually online, from the convenience of wherever you happen to be.

The many benefits users experience when they choose RON over traditional notary services are:

  • No time wasted on scheduling an appointment to meet with a notary and having to wait for them to have an opening.
  • Eliminates excessive fees and services, such as those associated with a mobile/traveling notary. 
  • Allows you to meet with a notary online and complete a signature within minutes, whenever you need it. 
  • Increased document and transaction security thanks to multi-factor, knowledge-based identity verification of all signers.
  • A detailed digital record of the entire notarial transaction is kept, stored, and accessible for all signers.
  • RON is 100% online which means you will be able to notarize your documents at your own convenience, regardless of any outside factors that may have otherwise slowed the process down (for instance, the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which had temporarily restricted all in-person meetings from taking place).  

When you are in need of notarization services, it’s first helpful to think about your personal needs. With the ease, convenience, and security that Remote Online Notarization provides, there’s never been an easier or cheaper way to securely prepare, esign, and notarize a document. 

How to notarize a document (step-by-step guide)

Below, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to notarize a document with RON and traditional notary services. We have included the steps for both traditional notarizations as well as for Remote Online Notarization. Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and the requirements may vary by state

Traditional Notarization

  1. Before you meet with a notary, you must first create and fill out the document that you need notarized, leaving all signatures blank. Since the notary must first-hand witness all parties signing the document for it to be considered valid, it is important that you leave all of the signatures blank. 
  2. Ensure the document has a spot for the notary to sign and seal upon notarization.
  3. It may be necessary to have a lawyer review your documents before notarization in order to ensure the document is legal and accurate. Unfortunately, this adds time and extra cost to the preparation stage.
  4. Once you are sure the document is correct, make a copy for notarization.
  5. You must also provide copies to all signing parties in advance of the notarization session to review. They may hire a lawyer to review the document or request changes at this stage, potentially slowing down the process.
  6. At this point, you will need to locate and contact a notary to schedule a time and place where you, any additional signers, and the notary can meet to complete the notarization. You can research your local options online, however banks, courthouses, and other financial institutions often provide notarization services for a fee.

    If you choose to go with a mobile notary, you will have to schedule a time and place for them to meet you in accordance with their availability.
  7. All signing parties will need to bring some form of verifiable ID to confirm their identity prior to signing. These must be current, up-to-date IDs. 
  8. Prior to signing, the notary will review the signer’s IDs in order to verify their identity and ensure the signature is valid.
  9. The notary will then watch the signers all sign and date the document in the predetermined locations.
  10. The notary will then provide their signature and seal, thereby officially notarizing the document. They will then apply their notarial seal and record the transaction in their notarial journal, in accordance with local state laws. 

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

  1. Online notarization simplifies the process of document preparation by allowing you to create, edit, e-sign, and notarize your documents all in one place. 
  2. In addition to document creation and notarization, PandaDoc Notary allows you to prepare quotes, proposals, contracts, and more from state-approved templates, which saves you time and effort when it comes to document preparation.
Remote Online Notarization
  1. Once the document is created, you can easily send it to all signing parties for review, in advance of your notarization. They may request changes within the document, allowing you to easily and quickly spot and make edits to the document if need be. 
  2. Once your document is ready to be signed, you will connect with your signing parties and online notary via a secure, two-way audio-visual internet connection. Before beginning the session, all signers will have undergone identity verification to ensure the signature’s validity. 
Remote Online Notarization
  1. At this point, the signers can apply their secure e-signature to the document before the online notary. From here, the notary can apply the eSignature and seal, completing the notarization within minutes. 

Begin notarizing documents with PandaDoc Notary today

When you require notarization, RON makes it as easy as possible to capture your signatures without the hassle and fees associated with traditional notarization services. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with plenty of insight into how to notarize a document and why remote notarization is the clear choice for all of your notarization needs.

When it comes to the ease, security, and flexibility that RON offers when compared to traditional notarization, there is simply no better option out there. 

PandaDoc Notary provides an easy-to-use and secure Remote Online Notarization platform that helps you create, edit, eSign, and notarize documents at your convenience, from wherever you’re at. The all-in-one platform makes it as simple and secure as possible to notarize when you need it. To learn more about how PandaDoc Notary can help you, request a demo.

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