Myth One: A Notary Can Give Legal Advice
A notary cannot give legal advice. Although there are notaries who are also paralegals people tend to think that paralegals can give legal advice. In fact, both notaries and paralegal are prevented from giving advice under any circumstance. The only exception is if they were both also an attorney who is acting in a legal capacity for the client. A Notary CAN provide you with legal information which is open and available to the public by a simple online search.
Myth TWO: Drafting Documents
Just as a notary cannot give legal advice, a notary cannot help the person they’re signing for draft documents. The only time that they are allowed to do so is if they are a paralegal, working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. A Notary CAN draft a document only if the notary is also a legal Document assistant and working in the capacity of an LDA. You can find a Document Legal Assistant in California on this site. https://calda.org/
Myth THREE: Provides Services to US Citizens
A notary provides services to the public, not just US citizens. Being able to do this makes sense because non-citizens often require notarizations for documents related to immigration and citizenship. When notarizing for a non-US citizen, the notary is still required to follow their state procedures to verify the identity of the signer
Myth FOUR A Notary’s Job Is Easy
There is so much more to it than show up, stamp, and leave. Training to become a notary is involved as well as specific training to handle mortgage loan documents. Not only does a notary need to be versed in the type of paperwork they are handling, but also the type of notarization that is required. There are different types of notarizations and specific language for the notarization that must be correct on the document. Also, there is pressure placed on notaries to meet timelines, and have legal responsibilities (and repercussions) should they fail to follow state-mandated protocol.
Myth FIVE: A Understanding the details of the documents they are notarizing.
A notary must verify that the client meets the requirements to sign the document and that the notarial language on the document is correct. Beyond that, a notary is under no obligation to understand or explain the specifics of a document. If the client is uncomfortable signing a document, the notary has a good faith obligation to not notarize the document and refer the client to the document issuer for clarification.
Myth #SIX: A Notary from a foreign country is the same as a Notary Public in the USA
The US is the only country in which notaries do not need to be Attorneys, to provide notary services, Foreign Notaries from different countries offer advanced legal services, services that surpass those of a notary public in the United States. Unfortunately, this causes confusion for Spanish speakers in the US, and some unscrupulous companies draw in people with the title and then charge them an exorbitant fee for simple notary services. More information can be found in the National Notary Association’s article, Important Differences Between Notaries & “Notarios“.
Myth SEVEN: A Notary Must Provide Services
Some people believe that a notary is required to provide services when contracted to do so. While is it rare for a notary to refuse services, some of the most common reasons that a notary can — and sometimes, legally must — refuse to notarize something. Is if they suspect fraud, if they cannot identify the signer, or the signer is not willing or is being coerced. A notary is providing signing services for perfectly legitimate legal documents 99.9% of the time. But there are those very rare occasions where something just doesn’t look or feel right. Sometimes it goes beyond just a feeling, and the fraud is obvious. The primary job of a notary is to verify the identity of the person who will be signing the document. If they are unable to do so, whether because the person hasn’t brought valid identification or the notary signing agent suspects that the identification isn’t authentic, then they must refuse to provide the notarization. Notaries see a lot of interactions between people. In general, the interactions are between people who have the same goal and are entering into an agreement willingly. But if the notary believes that a particular signer is being coerced into signing, the notary must refuse to provide notarization.
Myth EIGHT: A Notary can help complete Immigration Documents.
Just like the myth where a notary can give legal advice, there is also a misconception that a Notary CAN help fill out Immigration Documents, the only time a notary can fill out Immigration Documents is if the Notary is also an Immigration Specialist Consultant the California Secretary of State can help you find an Immigration consultant on their website. https://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/immigration-consultants
Myth NINE: Notaries Only Work Normal Business Hours
While the bank might only be open to offer notary services during normal business hours, that’s just not the case for most notary signing agents. Most notaries work independently and offer flexible hours to accommodate a wide range of clients. Many mobile notaries offer service well beyond business hours, including weekends.
Myth TEN: Notarizing a Document Makes It Legal
No, a notarized document simply means that the person who signed the document was verified by the notary to be that person. It means that the notary was presented with the proper identification and verified the signer’s identity and that the document was not signed under duress. A notarization alone does not make a document legal or binding.
When something isn’t completely understood, it’s fertile ground for myths and misconceptions.
I provide notary services to all companies, attorney’s mortgage companies, lenders, people who need the services of the notary to finalize their paperwork. I am happy to have the opportunity to provide some clarification. How can I assist your company and its document signing needs?
Susana Landa Notary Service Provider serving the Kern County area. Thank You