383 What do Notaries do?
Both notaries and notary signing agents organise, and witness the signing of official, legal documents.
- Document execution (legally binding signatures)
- Affirming the state of mind of all signees
- Identifying fraud or coercion
- Completing notarial certificates on all documents
- Verifying the identification of all parties involved in contracts
- Being present at the time of document execution
- Administer oaths
- Handle affidavits, contracts, loan documents, marriage certificates, and other legal documents
- Bear witness to items within a safe deposit box or the equivalent
- Maintain a notary journal
- Scheduling related appointments
Notary signing agents are certified to handle closings for the mortgage industry.
Notaries are responsible for disallowing signatures should fraudulent or coercive activity be at play. Signers must be of sound mind before and during an official document signing to avoid any complications later on.
Finding a qualified notary can be hard in some part of the United States, but there’s always demand for their services. If you enjoy handling legal documents and believe you could find enjoyment in helping other through financial documents then it could be a good fit for you.
Financially, the median annual salary sits at $34,749, which equates to $14.53 an hour. The top 10% annual salary is $51,000, or $22.93 an hour, while the lower end of the scale’s 10% annual salary sits at $19,000 just under $10 an hour.
You might also be offered to be paid for every document or signature made. The financial benefits for a notary can depend on the type of document and the laws within that state.
Education, Training, & Certification
Becoming a notary can be as simple as completing a background check in some states.
But some states will require you to sit, and pass, an exam to become a notary.
Becoming qualified is normally a straightforward, process that can be done with minimal costs.
There are different education courses to help you become a notary in every state. Two requirements that are needed across the entire country are that you must be a legal resident of that state, 18 years old or over, and you cannot have a criminal record.
Most states require an application, with a fee of about $100, and a background check to be as a form of certification. If you are interested in becoming a notary signing agent, then you will be required to pay additional fees and undergo further background checks to be certified.
While training isn’t a prerequisite for the role, enrolling in, or completing some training will be beneficial. Most are available online. To see what’s training is available visit the National Notary Association website or your local community college.
Skills & Competencies
You should have interest, and knowledge, in state laws, or be prepared to study them. You must be happy to follow procedures, and be comfortable with paperwork.
- Verification: Identification must be verified and you need to make sure that both parties understand what signing of documents means. Everything must be verified before notarizing signatures.
- Compliance: It is the notary’s responsibility to adhere those regulations and uphold the integrity of the processes involved. The notary must also communicate with the parties involved who may be unaware of the laws attached to the document signing.
- Record-Keeping: Names, times, locations, and all details of a job must be recorded in a journal. That way all signing parties will be held accountable, and of records aren’t kept it may render signatures null and void.
- Familiarity with Legal Documents: A notary’s realm of responsibility includes: evidentiary documents, loan documents, passports and affidavits. You must know what people are signing and what notary responsibilities apply to any given situation. But don’t worry – you aren’t required to know how to compose or dissect entire legal documents.
- Flexibility: Depending on your location, and the areas you’re attracting clients from there’s every chance travel will become a part of your role. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a customer’s schedule and location, while bringing all the necessary tools required. Formal agreements are often required with a quick turnaround.
The number notaries in any area can differ between high or low. If you live in a high-demand area, self-employed notaries are busy. But many organisations are diversifying and some banks and mail-carrying storefronts now offer notary services. That ease of access pushed the demand down.
Employees that are also notaries are a particularly valuable asset. If you work in a role or for a business that handles legal or loan paperwork, becoming a notary allows your employer to formalize transactions much faster than its competitors, and will expand your career opportunities.
Self-employed notaries have more opportunities to be mobile. You can provide notary services in your own office, at home, or travel to your customers. Mobile notaries can also charge for travel.
If you are self-employed your work days, and hours, could be just as flexible as your work environment. Mobile notaries are often needed in odd hours to accommodate their clients. If you work for a company and notarizing is one of your many duties, chances are you’ll have a typical 9-to-5 job.
Insurance for a Notary Public
A notary public could witness many signings on daily basis. For that, they are exposed to risks if a mistake is made during the process. Insurance for a notary public is an important element to consider to help protect them against allegations of professional negligence. Visit Bizinsure website to find out more about notary public insurance.