When Do You Need a Notary?

If you are signing an important document, you may be instructed to have it notarized. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out where to get a notary stamp or whether you need just the stamp or an embossed seal. All you need to do is find a notary public near you. Most banks and government offices have one on staff, but a quick internet search may reveal one even closer to you. Why, however, would you need a notary in the first place?

Buying a Home

When you purchase a home, there is a lot of paperwork that goes with it. Most of this paperwork represents a huge financial commitment, so it’s important that the signature that appears on the document actually belongs to the person who signs it. The role of the notary public is to witness the signature and confirm with his or her own signature, stamp or seal that the person who signed it is indeed the person whose name matches the signature. To do this, notaries usually require at least one form of government-issued picture identification. Once verified, all parties can rest assured that the person making the deal is the person who is responsible for the home.

Establishing Power of Attorney

Choosing your power of attorney is not a decision to be taken lightly. This is the person who will make financial or medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. It is also important to have a notarized document verifying your wishes. That way, if other family members contest the decision, your designated power of attorney has unimpeachable proof that he or she is the one to whom you have entrusted these vital decisions.

Verifying Identity of Signer

Not every instance where a notary is needed involves a large financial or personal commitment. Sometimes, forms need to be notarized simply because the parties involved are not in the same place and thus cannot verify identity for themselves. It would be easy, for example, for new college students who wish to waive the on-campus living requirement to forge their parents’ signatures on the exemption form. By requiring that the form be notarized, however, university officials can rest assured that the parents consent to have the students live with them so that they can commute from home instead.

Not every document has to be notarized, but it’s good to know where to find a notary in your area. You can be prepared ahead of time if the need should ever arise.