WHAT IS A NOTARY PUBLIC?
A notary public is a person of proven integrity, appointed and commissioned by State government as a public officer whose function is to perform notarial acts as an impartial witness, verifying that a person is who he or she claims to be, and that the person is in the presence of the notary.
A notary public verifies the identity of the signer, and that they are signing knowingly and willingly. This process helps deter the fraudulent execution of documents.
A notary will ask a signer for a document such as a driver’s license or government-issued identification card that includes a photograph, signature and some information describing the person.
A notary public can only witness the signing of the documents, not assist or prepare any documents. The duty of the notary public is to verify the identity of the signer. The notary public’s position is an impartial witness to the signing.
A notary public may refuse to perform a notarization if he or she cannot be certain of a prospective signer’s identity, willingness, or understanding of what is happening at that moment. In addition, a notary may not notarize a document in which he or she has a financial interest.
A notary public may not certify documents. A notary public cannot give legal advise or perform duties of an attorney.