Introduction to Notary Services
As a blogger, I often get asked about notary services and how they work. Many people are curious if notary services can be done over the phone or if they require an in-person meeting. In this article, I will discuss the concept of notarization and how technology has impacted the notary industry. Let's dive into the world of notaries and see if it's possible to notarize a document over the phone.
What is a Notary Public and Why is it Important?
A notary public is a public official appointed by the state government to act as an impartial witness in the signing of important documents. These documents can include property deeds, wills, and affidavits, among others. The main purpose of a notary public is to prevent fraud and forgery by verifying the identity of the signer, ensuring their willingness to sign the document, and confirming that they understand the contents of the document they are signing.
Notarization provides an extra layer of security and assurance to both the signer and the recipient of the document. The notary's seal and signature on the document mean that the notary has verified the signer's identity and has followed proper procedures. This can be extremely helpful in legal disputes or other situations where the authenticity of a document is being questioned.
Traditional In-Person Notarization
Traditionally, notarization has always been an in-person process. The signer and the notary would meet face-to-face, and the notary would verify the signer's identity by checking their government-issued identification (such as a driver's license or passport). The notary would then witness the signing of the document and apply their seal and signature to the document to complete the notarization process.
Until recently, this was the only method available for notarizing documents. However, advances in technology have brought about new ways to notarize documents, which we'll discuss in the following sections.
Remote Online Notarization (RON)
Remote online notarization (RON) is a relatively new method of notarizing documents that allows the signer and notary to complete the notarization process via a secure video conference call. With RON, the signer and notary can be in different locations, but they must still be able to see and hear each other in real-time.
During the RON process, the signer will present their identification to the notary using their webcam, and the notary will verify the signer's identity using specialized software. Once the identity verification is complete, the signer will electronically sign the document, and the notary will apply their electronic seal and signature. The entire process is recorded and stored for future reference if needed.
Telephone Notarization: Is it Possible?
Now, let's address the main question of this article: can you do a notary over the phone? The short answer is no. Telephone notarization is not currently a legally recognized method for notarizing documents. This is because the notary cannot verify the signer's identity or witness the signing of the document through a simple phone call.
Both traditional in-person notarization and remote online notarization require the notary to see the signer and their identification in order to verify their identity. Without the visual component, notarization cannot be completed in a manner that meets legal requirements.
State Laws and Regulations
It's important to note that notary laws and regulations vary by state, and not all states have adopted remote online notarization as a legally recognized method. As of now, many states have implemented RON laws, either permanently or temporarily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some states still require traditional in-person notarization for specific types of documents or transactions.
Before attempting to have a document notarized, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the notary laws and regulations in your state. This will help you determine if remote online notarization is an option for you, or if you will need to find a notary public to complete the notarization process in person.
Finding a Notary Public
If you need to have a document notarized, there are several resources available to help you find a notary public. Many banks and financial institutions offer notary services, often free of charge for their customers. Additionally, shipping centers like UPS and FedEx often have notaries on staff. You can also search online directories or use mobile apps to locate notaries near you.
If remote online notarization is an option in your state, you can also search for notaries who offer RON services. These notaries may have websites or online platforms where you can schedule a remote notarization appointment and complete the process from the comfort of your home.
In conclusion, while telephone notarization is not a legally recognized method for notarizing documents, remote online notarization has made it possible for signers and notaries to complete the notarization process without meeting in person. It's essential to understand your state's notary laws and regulations to determine which method is appropriate for your needs. With the right information and resources, you can ensure that your important documents are notarized securely and accurately, regardless of the method you choose.