Contrary to popular belief, notaries do not notarize documents, they notarize signatures. They are required to do the following:

  • Examine the document for completeness.
  • Check the notarial certificate for compliance with state law, if there is one preprinted.
  • Identify the document signer
  • Confirm the signers’ capacity to understand the document: Notaries can witness signatures even they are not familiar with the language on the document. However, they must be able to communicate with the signer.
  • Administer the Oath/Affirmation or take the Acknowledgment
  • Complete the Notarial Certificate by placing their signature, dating and sealing the document.