Notarization is the official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic, and can be trusted. It is a three-part process, performed by a Notary Public, that includes vetting, certifying and record-keeping. Notarizations are sometimes referred to as “notarial acts.”
Above all, notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended the terms of the document to be in full force and effect.
Every day the process of notarization prevents countless forged, coerced and incompetent signings that would otherwise overwhelm our court system and dissolve the network of trust allowing our civil society to function.
The Notary’s screening of the signer for identity, volition and awareness is the first part of a notarization.
The second part is entering key details of the notarization in the Notary’s “journal of notarial acts.” Keeping such a chronological journal is a widely endorsed best practice, if not a requirement of law.
The third part is completing a “notarial certificate” that states exactly what facts are being certified by the Notary in the notarization. Affixation of the Notary’s signature and seal of office on the certificate climaxes the notarization. The seal is the universally recognized symbol of the Notary office. Its presence gives a notarized document considerable weight in legal matters and renders it genuine on its face (i.e., prima facie evidence) in a court of law.