What documents need to be notarized?

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Whether you are selling your home, getting married, or creating a will, there will likely be many documents or important articles of paperwork that will have to be properly filled out. When you are creating or updating important documents, such as your will, or business agreements, it is vital to make sure that these documents will be valid in court if your legal dispute can’t be resolved or settled outside the courtroom. This is where notarization is important, as it offers protection for document signers. However, you may want to know what documents need to be notarized by a notary public and which don’t.

The notarization process is essential for ensuring that all information or details are factually correct and that all parties to a contract or agreement understand the contents of each document.

You should know that most documents will likely need to be notarized. Some examples include certain legal documents, such as a power of attorney, incorporation memorandum, and financial documents, such as mortgage documents. The responsibility of a notary public is to serve as an unbiased or impartial witness to the signing of key business or financial documents, such as a bill of lading.

What documents need to be notarized?

You should know that almost every crucial step you take in your personal or professional life will involve some type of documentation or paperwork, from getting your marriage certificate to a passport. Usually, a governmental organization or public official in charge of a process will let you know whether your documents and certificates must be notarized.

Before we provide you with a list of some of the most commonly notarized certificates and documents, it is vital to stress that each US state has its own laws and rules on whether a specific document or form must be notarized to be valid and acceptable. 

Most documents that need notarization can be divided into three main types: financial, business, and legal.

Financial documents

Notaries are usually employed by individuals or organizations to oversee the signing processes for financial documents, such as loan documents. Keep in mind that banks, title companies, investment firms, and other financial institutions, such as credit unions, require notarization for various documents and processes. Financial documents that usually require notarization include: 

  • Mortgage closing documents
  • Property deeds
  • Loan documents
  • Certain types of credit documents, such as credit reports
  • Financial statements

Legal documents

Documents and legal forms dealing with legal ownership and responsibility are among the most frequent documents that have to be notarized. These documents can include:

  • Wills and trust deeds
  • Advanced directives
  • Custody and guardianship agreements
  • Executorships
  • Court documents
  • Power of attorney

Business documents

Businesses and companies also need reliable notary service. Although all important documents that a business uses must be notarized, most documents can be notarized. These business documents can include the following:

  • Vendor and supplier contracts
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Commercial leases
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents
  • Employment contracts
  • Property construction and loan agreements

What documents cannot be notarized?

It is worth noting that notaries and government officials have strict guidelines and rules they have to follow when notarizing a financial or business document and providing a notary service. And if a document doesn’t fit those standards, it can’t be notarized. As you can imagine, these prohibitions and restrictions are there to protect the public while ensuring the credibility of the notary. 

Here are some reasons a document or form can’t be notarized:

  • The document or certificate is dated later than the date of notarization or backdated certificates. This is considered forgery and can be penalized with fines. 
  • The document signer can’t be positively identified.
  • A signer isn’t physically present.
  • The document or form is blank, has blank sections, or is missing one or more pages.
  • A signer appears or seems confused or mentally incapable of comprehending the transaction.
  • If the notary knows or thinks the transaction is illegal, they may not proceed with notarization. 

You should know that notaries will not authenticate or validate objects. Notaries are also not allowed to notarize their own signatures or serve in the capacity of a notary if they are a party to the transaction or situation.

How to get documents notarized?

You can now get many documents and certificates notarized online. However, you need to verify that online notarization is acceptable to the entity or company that needs the documents. For example, some situations, like property transactions in certain US states, require an in-person notary.  You should seek legal counsel to make the right decision. However, 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.

For instance, PandaDoc Notary offers online notary services to make things simple for you. Some simple steps involved in getting a contract or document notarized through PandaDoc Notary include:

 Step 1: Create or upload documents

You can create a document from scratch or upload from your computer. You can also upload from a cloud storage service, such as Dropbox. No matter your 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 online notarization session

You can connect to a live notary 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 agent will verify your identity and witness your signature, assisting you throughout the process.

Final thoughts

Depending on your specific situation, you may like to check with a competent lawyer or the organization you are working with to determine if there are any other steps you have to take to make your documents or certificates official. As you can see, most documents, such as business contracts and financial documents, need notarization. However, there are some that don’t need notarization. If you are looking to get your documents notarized, PandaDoc can help! Contact us to learn how we can help you.

 FAQs

Can any document be notarized?

Not all “important” forms, certificates, and documents require notarization. You have to get a document notarized primarily in instances where an unbiased or impartial witness is needed to ensure the person signing is who they claim to be.

Who can notarize documents?

For a person to become a notary, they need to go through a comprehensive vetting process. This makes sure that any person notarizing your documents or forms is viewed as trustworthy. Anyone who has gone through this vetting process can notarize documents and is known as a notary public.

Is a notarized document a legal document?

While a notarized document reinforces the veracity of documents in court, a notarized document or form doesn’t mean that the provisions in it are legal.

Where can you get documents notarized?

Documents and certificates can usually be notarized in the following locations:

  • Your bank or financial planner’s office
  • An accountant’s office
  • Local post offices
  • Online or through an app like PandaDoc Notary

The notarization process is simple and doesn’t have to be as difficult as people make it seem. Rather, sign up online and go through the process virtually.

What do you need to notarize a document?

  • A completed form or document.
  • Acceptable identification, such as driver’s license or passport.
  • Any other signers.
  • Payment for notary services.

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