Notary publics serve an important function in the legal community: they verify the identity of a person in possession of a legal document, such as a will, and ask that person to declare, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the document is true and that it has not been filled out for an improper purpose. A notarized document, such as an affidavit, can be relied on for its factual truth. If the person lied to the notary, that person may be subject to certain penalties. You must be a notary to sign as a notary.
Complete the process required by your state to become a notary public. The requirements vary by state, but the basic requirements are to be at least 18, complete an application, pay a registration fee and get sworn in by taking an oath of office.
Obtain a notary seal. This requirement varies by state as well. For example, in Idaho, you must obtain a rubberstamp seal from an office supply store or stamp company. The stamp must contain only the words “Notary Public, State of Idaho.” Wisconsin, in contrast, allows seals to contain the words “Notary Public, State of Wisconsin” and your name.
Administer an oath or affirmation to the person who needs you to sign a document as a notary. The oaths may vary slightly. In Idaho, you must follow the form: “You do solemnly swear that the testimony you shall give in the matter in issue shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Verify the person’s identity and ask the person to swear that the information in the document is correct and accurate to the best of his knowledge. Watch the person sign the document. Or, if the document is already signed, ask the person verify that the signature is his.
Stamp the document and fill in the notary block. The notary block is a set of standard language, usually beginning with “I [blank], a notary public.” You usually must sign your name, fill in the date and fill in the name and address of the person who needed the document notarized.