What Is a Notary Public? About Notaries What is Notarization Being a Public Official Notary History Notaries and Notarios Glossary of Terms Notary Links How to Become a Notary How to Renew Your Notary Commission News & Information Notary Bulletin The National Notary Magazine Webinars Commonly Asked Questions How to Administer Oaths and Affirmations Strange, Unusual and Bizarre Requests ID Fraud — A Notary Trap The Names in The Document and Identification Don't Match The Importance of Personal Appearance Understanding Notary Certificates and Seals: Vital Notary Know-How Signature by Mark Sorry Boss... No Can Do! How to Complete a Journal Entry How to Use Credible Witnesses Acknowledgments and Jurats - What's the Difference? How to ID in a Multi-Cultural World Signing Agent Branding Your Signing Agent Business 10 Steps to a Flawless Loan Signing Answers to Questions Notary Signing Agents are Asking Today Being a Team Player in the Loan Closing Process New Law Update California New-Law Update Oregon New-Law Update Arkansas New-Law Update Law Updates Special Reports Law Review Articles NNA Annual Conference Social Media Press Center Tips and Tutorials Administer an Oath Correct a Certificate Determine if ID is Acceptable Determine if Blank Spaces Acceptable Fix Bad Seal Impressions Avoid Unauthorized Practice of Law Handle Name Discrepancies Notarize Foreign Language Documents Notarize Wills Signing Agent Resources Non-Payment Issues Common Collection Terms Managing Your Collection Efforts Sample Collection Letters Signing Agent Tools Rescission Calendar ZipCode Locator / Driving Directions Signing Agent Pledge Card Title Company Directory Privacy Tips Reference Library Model Notary Act Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility US Notary Reference Manual (members only) Certificate Forms (members only) State Law Summaries A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government —typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts. Notaries are publicly commissioned as “ministerial” officials, meaning that they are expected to follow written rules without the exercise of significant personal discretion, as would otherwise be the case with a “judicial” official. A Notary's duty is to screen the signers of important documents — such as property deeds, wills and powers of attorney — for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. Some notarizations also require the Notary to put the signer under an oath, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct. Impartiality is the foundation of the Notary's public trust. They are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. The public trusts that the Notary’s screening tasks have not been corrupted by self-interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation or status as a non-customer. As official representatives of the state, Notaries Public certify the proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens — whether those diverse transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the multitude of other activities that enable our civil society to function.