10 Mistakes to Avoid

10 Common Notary Mistakes to Avoid

When notarizing important documents, getting it right the first time is crucial. Notaries play a vital role in verifying signatures and ensuring the authenticity of documents. However, common mistakes can lead to legal issues and delays.

Let’s explore ten common notary mistakes to avoid, shed light on the pros and cons of using a mobile notary, discuss the cost of a notary public (specifically in Iowa), and provide examples of documents a notary public can sign.

Common Notary Mistakes

  1. Failing to Verify Identity: Notaries must always confirm the identity of the person signing the document. This includes checking their ID and ensuring they are of sound mind.
  2. Missing Notary Seal: Every notarized document should have an official seal, which acts as a stamp of authenticity. Failing to use this seal can render the document invalid.
  3. Expired Commission: Notaries must keep their commissions up to date. An expired commission can result in rejected documents.
  4. Blank Spaces on Documents: Leaving blank spaces on documents that shouldn’t be blank can lead to misuse of the document after it’s notarized.
  5. Using an Incorrect Notarial Certificate: Different documents require specific notarial certificates. Using the wrong one can invalidate the notarization.
  6. Not Keeping a Journal: Notaries are often required to maintain a journal of notarized transactions. Failure to do so can be problematic if legal disputes arise.
  7. Lack of Communication: Notaries should communicate clearly with signers about the purpose and consequences of the document they’re notarizing.
  8. Unauthorized Practice of Law: Notaries should only provide legal advice or services within their role as a notary.
  9. Failure to Administer Oaths: Notaries must administer oaths or affirmations to signers when required.
  10. Conflict of Interest: Notaries should avoid notarizing documents for family members or individuals with whom they have a financial interest.

Pros and Cons of Using a Mobile Notary

Pros:

  • Convenience: Mobile notaries come to your location, saving you time and effort.
  • Flexible Hours: Mobile notaries often offer extended hours, accommodating busy schedules.
  • Personalized Service: Mobile notaries provide one-on-one attention, ensuring a smooth process.

Cons:

  • Higher Cost: Mobile notaries may charge more for travel and on-demand services.
  • Limited Availability: Mobile notaries may only be readily available in some areas.
  • Privacy Concerns: Sharing personal information at your location may raise privacy concerns.

Cost of a Notary Public

The cost of notary services in Iowa can vary. Typically, notaries charge a small fee for each notarized signature or transaction. The maximum fee is set by state law. In Iowa, as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, notaries could charge up to $5 per notarial act. However, prices may have changed, so checking with your local notary for current rates is advisable.

Examples of Documents a Notary Public Can Sign

Notaries can notarize a wide range of documents, including:

  1. Real Estate Documents: Deeds, mortgages, and property transfer documents.
  2. Legal Agreements: Contracts, powers of attorney, and wills.
  3. Financial Documents: Loan agreements, promissory notes, and affidavits of financial support.
  4. Government Forms: Passport applications, immigration documents, and voter registration forms.
  5. Business Documents: Articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, and corporate resolutions.

Sources to Find Out More

  • State Notary Websites: Many state government websites offer resources and guides for notaries. These websites often provide information about common mistakes to avoid and the specific rules and regulations in your state. Search for your state’s official notary website or visit the National Notary Association’s website for state-specific resources.

  • Notary Associations: Organizations like the National Notary Association (NNA) and the American Society of Notaries (ASN) offer educational resources, articles, and guides for notaries. These associations are known for their expertise in notary public matters and can provide valuable information about common mistakes and best practices.

  • Legal and Business Websites: Websites like LegalZoom, Nolo, and the Small Business Administration often have articles and guides on notary topics, including common mistakes to avoid. These resources can provide practical advice and insights into the notarization process.

Remember to verify the information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy and relevance to your specific situation and location.

In conclusion, notaries play a crucial role in ensuring the authenticity and legality of documents. By avoiding common notary mistakes, understanding the pros and cons of mobile notaries, being aware of notary costs, and knowing which documents can be notarized, you can confidently navigate the notarization process and avoid potential pitfalls.

Interested in having the Iowa Notary notarize a document for you? Give Susan a call, today!

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