A notary, also known as a notary public, certifies that you are the person who signed a legal document. Notaries are licensed by the state and use a special seal to verify, or notarize, a document. Some affidavits, titles, or business documents require a notarized signature. You must appear before a notary in order to have your signature notarized. Fortunately, you have many options for finding notaries.
Many banks have one or more notaries working at their branches. Though state laws allow notaries to charge a nominal fee for their services, banks often provide free notarization for account holders. If you want something notarized at a bank, however, you'll usually have to do so during regular bank business hours.
Courthouses, sheriff’s offices, county or state government offices also employ notaries. If you need a document notarized after normal business hours, you might have luck finding a notary at your local sheriff’s office. Since many legal documents must be notarized, courthouses often employ notaries. Notarization may be free as a service to taxpayers.
UPS Stores offer notary services. If you need to copy and mail your documents after your signature is notarized, the UPS store can take care of this for you also. Local lawyers, real estate offices, insurance agencies and automobile dealerships often employ notaries and may allow you to use the notary’s services as well. A notary at one of these businesses may charge a fee, but state law limits how much she can charge. In Colorado, for instance, the maximum fee is $5.
If you can’t find a notary at any of the above places, contact your state's Secretary of State’s office. This office should maintain a complete list of all notaries licensed in your state. Your local library might maintain a list of notaries as well. You also can consult an online directory of notaries such as Notary Public Services (www.notarypublicdirectory.com/) or Notary Rotary (www.notaryrotary.com).
Finding a Notary While Traveling
If you need a notary while traveling in another country, begin your search with a government office such as an embassy or consulate. If the city where you are located has a traveler’s aid office, contact that office to find information on notaries. Since notaries are often required for legal documents, consult a local attorney. Rules for notaries vary from one country to the next. Verify that the person or business requesting the notarized document will accept certification from a notary in the country where you are traveling.
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