A Notary acknowledgement is a statement that certifies an individual has legitimately signed a form. Common for legal documents, the individual that is signing will have to show some type of identification. After the individual signs the form, a person known as a notary public will sign below and place their seal certifying that they have verified the signer’s identification.

Notary acknowledgments are common for certain types of legal documents such as power of attorney, divorce papers, court documents, and any serious legal form where the parties feel it is necessary to have the signatures be notarized.

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How to Notarize a Document

In order to notarize a document the individuals that will be signing the form will need to present themselves, along with any other signers, along with an original copy of the document that will be signed. Once the individuals and the form have been gathered, a notary public will need to be sought to provide their acknowledgement.

Step 1 – Gather the Signers

You will need to find the necessary people that are required to sign the document. If the document requires witnesses, in addition to the form be signed in the presence of a notary public, then the witnesses will need to appear.

This is common for court documents (i.e. power of attorney, divorce papers, etc.) where individuals need to be found who are not related to the principal or benefit from their estate.

Step 2 – Get Your Form

Make sure to gather the form, along with at least 2 or 3 copies, to bring to the notary public’s office. In addition, make sure that the form is complete upon arrival at the notary’s office.

Step 3 – Find a Notary Public

There are a couple different ways to find a notary public:

Financial Institution – The most common is to go to your local financial institution where you have a bank account. Bank of America, JP Morgan / Chase, and TD Bank offer free notary services to their customers (recently was denied at Wells Fargo as the representative told me they no longer offer notary services for 3rd party documents).

UPS Store – Notary services are available at all UPS Store locations. You can even use their website to schedule an appointment so that the notary on staff is ready when you walk through the door (don’t have to wait).

Online Directory – You can use a number of online directories to hire a notary public in your area to acknowledge your form. Sites like 123notary, Yelp, American Society of Notaries, or simply making a search on Google can find you a notary that offers acknowledgment services.

Step 4 – Verify the Notary Public

As an extra precaution, before agreeing to have the form authorized it is best to ensure that the notary that is providing their acknowledgment is, in fact, a licensed and legal notary within the State.

In most States, you can access the license data in order to see if a notary is valid to make acknowledgments within the State. A notary must renew their license every four (4) years. On some acknowledgment forms, the notary is required to write when their commission ends along with placing their seal under or next to this information.

Step 5 – Get the Acknowledgement

When you have found the notary that you would like to use it is now time to have all the individuals sign the document. The notary will probably ask to verify the identities of all those that are signing by viewing government issues identification such as a passport or drivers license.

Once the parties have signed and the notary has placed their signature and seal on the document it is legally binding. The form can then be used and stored as a legal document for future use.