A document that has been notarized is one that has been certified by a notary public. A notary public is an official who validates the identity of those signing the document, witnesses the signatures, and stamps the document (or "seal"). The term "notarize" means to certify or attest as true and correct.
When you send someone an unnotarized copy of a signed document, they can claim that it isn't genuine because they weren't given permission to sign the document in the first place. However, when you send them a notarized copy, they have to acknowledge receipt of the document.
The person receiving the notarized copy should retain their copy and keep it with their other documents if they ever need to show that they had a signature on the document at some point. Notarizing copies ensures that these signatures are legitimate and not forged.
Notarization is usually required for contracts worth more than $75,000. It is also useful for authenticating deeds, mortgages, and other important papers. Documents that require notarization include: wills, trusts, non-profit organization agreements, and power of attorney forms.
Notaries public charge $15 per appointment and accept cash, check, debit card, or credit card payments. They can be found through contact information provided by offices of the clerk of the circuit court in your state.
A notary public signs a notarized copy (not to be confused with a notary in a civil law country). The certified copy is signed by a person designated by the person or organization requesting it. The individual is commonly referred to as a "authorized person."
The term "certified copy" means a copy of an official document that has been approved by a notary public or other authorized person and which contains information about the approval. A certified copy is distinguished from an ordinary copy by the addition of one of these symbols: nf (for "no fault") or cv (for "certificate of validity").
A notary public may certify copies of documents with or without charge. If he or she certifies documents without charge, the notary public should indicate this on the certification page with the word "FREE" written next to it. The cost of certification depends on the type of document being copied and the amount of material involved. For example, a certified copy of a book costs the same as an ordinary copy; but certification of a large file folder can take more than one hour and thus be charged at a rate of $10 per hour.
People sometimes use the terms "notarization" and "notarial certificate" interchangeably, but they are different processes.
The term "notarized" indicates that you have sworn under oath that the facts in the affidavit are accurate, that the document has been signed in front of a notary public, and that the notary public has signed and sealed the affidavit. Notarizing an affidavit allows a third party to witness that the statements contained within the affidavit are true.
You must file a notarized affidavit with any court in order for that court to accept it as evidence of the facts stated in the affidavit. A notary public can authenticate documents including affidavits at any time, even after years have passed. As long as the notary public follows proper procedures to authenticate the document, it will be accepted as valid by the court.
Notarial acts are performed by government-appointed officials who work in their communities. Most commonly, this person is a deputy clerk or assistant clerk who is authorized to administer oaths and take acknowledgments. However, anyone who is appointed by a governmental body to perform notarial functions may do so. For example, a mayor may appoint a city clerk to notarize documents.
State laws require that all affidavits be notarized. A notary public can authenticate affidavits in any state except Nebraska where they are prohibited from performing notarial acts. The only way to verify the authenticity of a Nebraska affidavit is by recording the affidavit with the Secretary of State's office.
Notarization is the formal fraud-deterrent procedure that guarantees transaction participants that a document is valid and trustworthy. A notary public performs a three-part procedure that includes screening, certifying, and preserving records. Screening means that she will verify your identity before certifying that you are who you claim to be. This can include asking for identification such as a driver's license or passport. If you do not have any of this evidence, you cannot receive a certification. Certifying means that she will write "certified" next to her name in the space provided on the document. Preserving records means that she will keep a copy of the certified document for future reference.
Who can be a notary public? Any person who has taken and passed a notary examination administered by the state or territory in which they practice is eligible to become a notary public. The requirements vary from state to state but usually involve taking and passing an exam approved by the governor or other chief executive officer of that state or territory. In some states, all that is required is to be at least 18 years old. In other states, you must be a citizen of the United States or otherwise authorized to work in the country. Some states also require that you be a resident for a certain period of time. Others allow former federal employees to serve as notaries if they meet the requirements of their home state.
A certified copy is a copy (typically a photocopy) of a primary document that has been endorsed or certified as a genuine copy of the source document. The term "certified copy" is used mostly in connection with documents such as birth certificates and death certificates.
In general, copies that are not certified as such cannot be used as evidence in court.
The primary document may be either a public record or a private writing. For example, a birth certificate is considered a private writing that is required by law to be kept confidential for health reasons. As such, it cannot be released to anyone other than the person listed on it and their authorized representatives. However, a copy of the birth certificate can be made by a legal practitioner and retained by the practitioner as proof of birth. This copy would then be able to be presented in court as evidence of birth.
Similarly, a marriage license is a public record that is issued by a government office where marriages are conducted. It allows people to prove their marital status for various purposes such as getting a credit card or driving license. A copy of the license could be made by a professional clerk and retained by the clerk as evidence of the marriage. This copy could then be presented in court as evidence of the marriage.