There may be times when you are told you need a document signed and notarized by a notary public. This is a common practice to make sure the people who are supposed to sign a document are the people who sign the document. This is a great way to prevent fraud. 

What Is a Notary Public?

A notary public is a person who was legally appointed to be an unbiased witness. Some people may become a notary public for a living, while others may only become a notary public because their job requires them to be to provide a service to their clients and customers. 

To become a notary public, you do not have to be personally appointed by the governor of your state. You can simply fill out and mail in the notary application to your state's designated address along with the application fee. This fee will vary depending on which state you reside in. 

What Does a Notary Public Do?

A notary public's main and most common duty is to witness signatures on important documents to prevent fraud. 

Other duties a notary public may be responsible for can include: 

  • Keeping detailed record of the transactions for the state
  • Verifying the identities of all parties signing a document
  • Administering oaths
  • Certifying copies of important documents

There are some places where a notary public may also be able to perform a marriage ceremony. This is possible because notary publics are considered a ministerial official. There are only a handful of states that currently allow a notary public to legally perform a marriage currently. 

Where Can You Find a Notary Public?

There are a few different common places you can look to get a document notarized. 

Those places can include:

  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Hospitals
  • Post office
  • Law offices

There are also people who may provide notary services from their home or a different location. Some of these locations may provide the service for free. However, some may charge for the service. Luckily, each state has a maximum fee a person or business can charge for each service. They cannot legally exceed this maximum fee for the service. 

With the advances in technology, notary public are now even available online. If for some reason you cannot find a notary public in your area, you can now receive this service online. It is quick and easy. Online notary publics are not exempt from the maximum fee set by the state and will also have to follow it.