A Notary Public is an individual that has been appointed by the state to serve the public as an impartial witness relating to the signing of significant documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts.
A Notary's duty is to screen the signers of important documents 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.
While not every single important document requires notarization, some documents that typically require notarizations include:
Through the process of notarization, Notaries deter fraud and establish that the signer knows what document they are signing, and that they are a willing participant in the transaction.
Generally, a Notary will ask to see a current ID that has a photo, physical description and signature. Acceptable IDs are usually a driver’s license or passport.