General Question

Snoopy's avatar

What is the point to having something notarized?

Asked by Snoopy (5778 points ) September 3rd, 2008

Aside from creating another hurdle for completing a business transaction and creating revenue for the notary and whatever organization certifies the notary…..what is the point? There is no vetting of the accuracy of the info on the document, etc. What am I missing?

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26 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

Proof from a reliable and unimpeachable source, that the signature on a document is GENUINE, and the person signing it produced positive identification, to remove any and all doubts about the authenticity of the signer.

September 3, 2008, 5:47 PM EDT

Snoopy's avatar

—hmmmmmm. I have had a few things notarized. Maybe I just seem trustworthy to said unimpeachable person, but I don’t recall having to produce identification to prove my authenticity…...?

JackAdams's avatar

I have always been required to show my ID to a notary, to prove my identity, before a document would be given an official seal.

This was required, even when the notary knew me, personally.

September 3, 2008, 5:51 PM EDT

scamp's avatar

I’ve had several things notarized and never showed and ID either. The only time I showed an ID to a notary was when I got married by one.

Snoopy's avatar

@Jack. Thanks for your answers! do you have shifty eyes, maybe?

@scamp. LOL! Could he notarize his own stuff?

scamp's avatar

Not married TO one, married BY one, lol!

Sloane2024's avatar

That’s a good question!! Can notaries notarize their own stuff?

scamp's avatar

They can’t. I asked one once.

jballou's avatar

The purpose of the notary is to verify that the signature is original. They should ALWAYS ask to see ID, but even if they don’t – they are there as a witness to the signing of the document, not to testify to your perceived trustworthiness.

Divalicious's avatar

When I had to take a renter to court for back rent owed, my notarized lease agreement was the only thing that saved me in court. The not-so-honest renter claimed that he didn’t sign anything, and his attorney asked who witnessed the signature. You could visibly see the wind come out of his sails when I replied, “me, (the renter), and the notary public who notarized it.”

paulc's avatar

I totally see where you’re coming from. When I had to get my father’s probated will notarized the notary just basically charged me $40 to stamp and sign the document. The only ID she asked for was my credit card as she swiped it. I could have whipped the whole thing up in some word processor and she’d have been none the wiser. It seems a bit faulty to me.

scamp's avatar

@Divalicious that’s a great story! it would be a classic Judge Judy moment, ha ha! I think a loophole for not showing IDs is that there is a place on most notary stamps that says either produced ID or ”is know to me personally.

cyndyh's avatar

I’ve always showed ID to the notary and signed their book along with the ID numbers as well as having them sign.

@paulc: Are you serious? I never went to a notary that charged more than a couple of bucks—as in $2. Where in the world are you where $40 is a going rate?

marinelife's avatar

Side note: If you are already personally known to the notary, they will not ask you for ID since they know that you are you.

scamp's avatar

And that’s why they would check off that choice on the stamp!

Snoopy's avatar

@scamp…..whoops! I totally read that wrong! Sorry!

charliecompany34's avatar

just makes it official. sort of like when you go through the act of “certifying” mail. it gives authority and credence to a document because you went an extra level for it to be, well, official.

paulc's avatar

@cynyh I’m in Edmonton Canada – I guess its a racket or something :(

mzgator's avatar

I am a Notary Public. Things are a little different here in Louisiana, as we practice law using a Code ( book of written law).

I took a very hard test and passed it, and was sworn in as a Notary for life in Louisiana. In order to remain a Notary, I must follow the law and rules of Notary in my state.

In my state, an ID is required when you do notary work for someone. The purpose of having a Notary witness a document or act is to prove that the document is original and to witness that the person signing is indeed the person signing. As a Notary you are bound by law to require proof from an individual of their identity. I ALWAYS ask for ID before notarizing anything.

Let me give you an example where proof of identification by a
notary would be important: A person comes to my office with a car title in Joe Blow’s name. This person wants me to notarize a car sale to Thom Thumb. I don’t check for ids and notarize the title. Thom Thumb goes to the DMV to transfer the car and finds out the title has been reported as a stolen car. The guy who sold him the car was not Joe Blow. Since I did not ask for ID and facilitated the sale of the stolen car, I am at fault.

There are other circumstances where having documents notarized by qualified and competent Notaries is of the most extreme importance. If your Notary doesn’t check ID, find one who will. If you have nothing to hide, it is in your best interests.

Snoopy's avatar

@mzgator Thank you (!!!) for answering. Very informative. :)

jballou's avatar

I once took part in a class action lawsuit, and when I signed the paperwork, I had to do so in front of a notary. As mzgator said, it was for the purposes of verifying my identity as well as verifying the authenticity of my signature.

cyndyh's avatar

@paulc: well, at least that explains the difference.

Judi's avatar

It is my understanding that the notary is not concerned with the content of the document, their job is to provide proof that the signature is authentic.

mzgator's avatar

A notary should check content in order to assure that all items in the document follow state laws and gudrlines. An invalid document is worth nothing. A properly constructed document which is duly notarized is the only document which is legal.

Judi's avatar

Wow.
I have had a lot of things notarized and unless I am at a lenders office they just ask, and what it the document called, A trust? They just liik at the title page.

mzgator's avatar

Remember I am a Louisiana Notary. Things may be different here. We have very strict guidelines on what we must do as outlined by law. I have been a practicing Notary since 1997.

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