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Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Requests For Authentication Explained

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesMost county recorders and other authorities will accept a properly notarized document from an out-of-state Notary with no questions. On occasion, the receiving agency may require proof that the notarial signature and seal are genuine. This proof is called “authentication” or “legalization.”

The customary proof is a certificate of authority (also called a certificate of capacity, a certificate of prothonotary or a flag). It is issued and attached to the notarized document by the local or state official with custody of notarial bonds and oaths. This certificate states that the signature and seal on the document in question belong to you.

Normally, for a document recipient elsewhere in the United Stares or its territories, a single certificate of authority from a county clerk, prothonotary or other designated local official is sufficient proof of a Notary’s authority.

Like an apostille, obtaining the certificate of authority is the responsibility of the signer or document recipient, not the Notary. However, you may have to direct signers to the certificate-issuing offices where your bond and oath are filed. Usually, anyone bearing a notarized document and paying the required fee can have a certificate of authority attached to the document. Sometimes this procedure may be carried out through the mail.

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