Busting Notarization Myths: The Real Role of a Notary

  • By NotaryCam

  • 12 January, 2024

Have you ever found yourself caught in the labyrinth of Notarization Myths, trying to decipher fact from fiction? Like a hiker navigating an unfamiliar trail, understanding notarization can feel like venturing into uncharted territory. You may have heard that notaries are akin to legal advisors or drafters of official documents – yet these beliefs are mere illusions.

In reality, their role is more about safeguarding transactions and verifying identities than drafting legalese. This isn’t just any run-of-the-mill responsibility; it holds the keys to trust and authenticity in critical matters such as mortgage lending, title companies, and law firms.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there! The digital landscape becomes more complex with online notarizations popping up in our tech-driven era. Sure, they offer convenience at your fingertips, but does this really match up to their security promises?

Understanding Notarization Myths

The world of notaries is filled with misconceptions. Many people think that a notary can offer legal counsel or create documents, but this is totally wrong.

The Role of a Notary in Legal Matters

A notary public cannot provide legal advice unless they are also attorneys or paralegals. They serve as impartial witnesses to signing documents, and their role does not extend to giving guidance on legal matters.

This myth probably arises because some confusing terms used in real estate transactions and other formal procedures sound like ‘legal advice.’ But rest assured, when it comes to these complexities, you’ll need an attorney—not your friendly neighborhood notary.

In fact, if a signer seems uncertain about the document’s content at the signing table—a sign something might be off—the well-trained national notary has every right (and responsibility) to refuse service. This decision helps protect against potential frauds where signers may feel under family pressure or financial duress during remote online notarizations.

Finding out who’s legit isn’t always straightforward for our mobile warriors either; verifying identity remotely requires robust tools such as database-driven identity verification systems. It all adds up: Online services demand more work than traditional face-to-face meetings—but it’s worth every effort. After all, no one wants their crucial papers handled by anyone less than thorough professionals—whether onsite or online.

The Role of a Notary Public

  • Authentication: The main responsibility of a notary is confirming the identity of individuals signing critical paperwork. This process often requires checking valid identification cards such as driver’s licenses or passports.
  • Fraud Prevention: By affirming identities and witnessing signings, notaries play an essential part in deterring fraud and forgery related incidents.
  • Evidence Documentation: A detailed record book maintained by most states’ appointed notaries serves as evidence if disputes arise concerning signed agreements.

In some instances where attorneys double up as notaries, it may seem like they’re providing both services simultaneously. However, their capacity for giving legal counsel comes strictly from being licensed lawyers rather than acting within their scope as notaries. Similarly, paralegals who are also notaries can draft legal documents, but this ability stems from their paralegal training and not their role as a notary.

Understanding the distinct roles of these professions is key to debunking this myth. Notaries play an integral part in our society by fostering trust in written agreements, but they do so without giving any form of legal advice or helping with document drafting.

The Relevance and Demand for Notaries

Today’s world, driven by contracts and transactions, still holds a significant place for notaries. Despite the digital revolution touching every industry, these impartial witnesses continue to play a vital role in ensuring the integrity of many official acts.

In fact, sectors like mortgage lending and law firms heavily rely on notarial services. Their demand is such that even with technological advancements changing how we conduct business, they remain an indispensable public official within various sectors. As per data available at Notary of America, their relevance continues unabated across industries.

Industries That Rely Heavily on Notarial Services

Sectors like real estate are where you’ll find heavy use of notarization. From title companies verifying property deeds to banks confirming loan agreements – all require a reliable witness who can attest to the legitimacy of signatures involved.

Similarly, law firms need them when it comes to authenticating affidavits or sworn statements during legal proceedings. Even businesses employ them for formalizing corporate documents and employee agreements.

Apart from traditional settings though, online notarizations have been gaining popularity as well due to remote work culture becoming more prevalent nowadays – further highlighting their necessity in today’s digitized era.

Unraveling the Complexities of Online Notarization

The convenience of remote online notarizations has driven its increasing popularity. Despite its growing convenience, online notarization comes with a range of complexities.

One key concern is identity verification. Database-driven identity verification tools have been introduced to help solve this problem by making sure signers appearing before a remote notary are who they claim to be.

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle; let’s look at how online and remote online notarizations can enable or hinder certain processes compared to traditional methods.

The Benefits and Challenges with Remote Online Notarization

To start, we’ve all felt that pang of dread when needing a document notarized – having to take time out from our day for an appointment at some unfamiliar place. That’s where online notarization shines. It lets you conduct business wherever you feel comfortable: your home office, kitchen table – even on vacation.

A major advantage is accessibility. Those living in rural areas or people with mobility issues might find visiting a public notary challenging. Here again, mobile and remote online services come as a relief.

All these conveniences don’t mean security takes a back seat though; robust security features including two-way audio-video sessions ensure integrity during the process.

Misunderstandings about What Remote Online Notaries Can Do

Certain myths need busting too. Many believe that getting documents legally stamped by an eNotary automatically makes them legal—wrong.

A common misconception is also around fees—notaries do charge for their service based on state regulations and the type of notarial acts performed. So, next time you’re in need of a remote online notary, make sure to get your facts straight.

Notary Liability and Consequences of Faulty Notarizations

When it comes to notarial acts, there’s no room for errors. Erroring even slightly can bring about considerable repercussions.

A notary public shoulders full liability for any financial injuries due to faulty notarizations. But what does this mean?

Legal Repercussions of Negligent or Intentional Mistakes

Negligence or intentional mistakes in the signing table could expose a notary to civil lawsuits. This is true even if no actual financial injury results from their actions.

National Notaries Association explains that bad actors using your tools could hold you accountable as well.

The risk extends beyond mere monetary fines; depending on state laws, criminal charges may also apply.

In essence, while being a public notary provides an essential service, it’s crucial to get things right at all times – because the price of getting them wrong can be substantial.

Ensuring Security in Notarization

The security measures used during notarization are vital to its integrity. From the use of a notary seal, photos captured during the process, to recorded video sessions for remote online notarizations.

Database-driven identity verification tools play an essential role in this process. These tools help make sure that signers appearing before a notary really are who they claim to be. Key Security Features like these, enhance the credibility and reliability of the whole process.

Key Role of Identity Verification Tools

To spot fake IDs or fraudulent attempts at deception, it’s important that a robust system is put into place. This is where database-driven identity verification tools come in handy.

A clear understanding by both parties involved ensures smoother transactions and fewer hiccups along the way. Remote online notaries often rely on these systems for successful completion of their tasks.

Maintaining Integrity with Recorded Video Sessions

In cases involving remote online notarizations, maintaining key security features can seem challenging but technology has made strides here too. By incorporating two-way audio and visual communication channels, we have brought about some truly innovative solutions.

The entire signing document session gets recorded – allowing for retrospective analysis if required later on while also providing assurance to all parties involved that everything was conducted above board.

Misconceptions about Document Legality and Fees in Notarization

Let’s clear up some myths around notarized documents. A popular misconception is that a notarized document has legal validity, however this isn’t the case. In reality, a notary doesn’t make a document legal; they simply verify the identity of the signer.

A public notary can only confirm that you are who you say you are when signing. The content within remains your responsibility. So, if your newly bought real property turns out to be on Mars… well, don’t blame it on the remote online notarizations process.

In terms of fees charged by notaries for their services – there’s no one-size-fits-all answer either. This isn’t like ordering fries at your favorite fast-food joint where prices remain constant coast-to-coast.

Fees Depend on Location and Service Provided

The charges depend heavily upon location and service provided: A mobile notary might charge more than an office-based one due to travel costs incurred or extra convenience offered. Similarly, complex legal documents could carry higher fees than simpler ones because of additional effort needed for credential analysis or to detect duress during sign-offs.

No Standard Rate across States

The other factor affecting cost is geography: each state has its own set rates which determine what can be charged for various notarial acts. While this variation might seem strange initially – after all aren’t we talking about just witnessing signatures? – remember each state has different laws governing the notarial services, which justify these differences.

So, before you get a document notarized, ensure to check your state’s guidelines on notary fees. Knowledge is power and can save you from some unexpected surprises.


As we untangle the web of Notarization Myths, remember, notaries are not legal advisors. They’re impartial witnesses safeguarding transactions and verifying identities.

Industries like mortgage lending, law firms, and title companies heavily rely on them. But they can’t work miracles; their hands are tied by laws that govern their duties.

In our digital age, online notarizations offer convenience but come with identity verification challenges. And yes – mistakes have consequences! Notaries bear full liability for faulty acts committed using their tools.

To wrap up: Notarial services do more than just verify signatures; they add a layer of security in business transactions while keeping us honest!