Monday, July 28, 2008
'Can You Notarize This?' Taking the Notary Job Seriously is an important July 18, 2008 New York Law Journal article about the role and importance of notary publics. Though the authors recognize that the notarial function is often overlooked and even compromised, notarys play and important function in verifying the signature on documents. The article explains that notarys are suppose to perform the following functions:
Require that the signer be physically present before the Notary for signature (which aids in a Notary's ability to detect forgery if it appears that the affiant is taking an inordinate amount of time or care in signing);5
(ii) Verify, through photo identification or personal knowledge, that the signer is who he or she claims to be;6
(iii) Obtain the oath or acknowledgment of the signer that he or she has signed the document willingly and is aware of its contents (e.g., Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this affidavit subscribed by you is correct and true?7); and
(iv) Sign the document and print, typewrite or stamp, in black ink, the words "Notary Public State of New York," the name of the county in which the Notary is qualified, and the date upon which his commission expires. Notaries commissioned in Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, or Richmond County must also indicate the Notary's commission number.
Best practices would also suggest that the notary maintain a journal record of each notarial act, including the date, affiant's name and signature, title or type of document notarized, method of identification used, and a physical description of the affiant.
While such efforts may seem incredibly onerous in light of the already document-saturated, fast-paced environment in which most of us practice, consider for a moment how useful such information will be if the notary is then ever called to testify as to the notarial act years later
Mitchell H. Rubinstein