What is a Notary Public?

Mobile Notary Public Services

Notaries are public officials of the State. Their main function is to provide legal certainty since they are professionals dealing with public trust in Private Law relationships. They offer the accuracy of the facts by authenticating a legal document. Most of the notarial deeds include commercial business, like the sale of housing, with or without a bank mortgage. You may find many online notary public services in Oregon, for example, offering services of a commissioned and insured Notary Public. They usually deal in real estate deeds, contracts, affidavits, and loan documents.

What is a Notary public:

In other cases, you may be able to enter the country but will not be able to obtain a work permit or open a bank account. While it may be possible to get by without an apostille in some situations, it’s always best to have one when travelling with important documents.

While their duties have evolved over time, notaries public today continue to perform important authenticating functions. The focus, however, has shifted more to authentication rather than taking dictation.

A notary public is appointed by each state’s secretary of state, governor or lieutenant governor. To become a notary, a person must meet qualifications set by each state. This generally includes being a legal adult (18 in most states), having no felony convictions, and passing a notary exam. 

After appointment, a notary can perform their official duties as long as their commission remains valid. This is usually 4 or 5 years depending on the state. Notaries are responsible for renewing their commission periodically.

Duties of a Notary Public:

Duties of a Notary Public

The main powers of a notary public include:

  • Witnessing signatures on documents
  • Attesting that copies of documents are true copies 
  • Administering oaths
  • Verifying signer identity

By witnessing a signature and stamping a document with their notary seal, a notary public confirms:

  • The signature is authentic and was made in their presence
  • The signer understood the document and signed voluntarily
  • The signer possessed valid identification

This prevents fraud by making it harder to fake signed documents. It also means the signer can’t easily claim they didn’t understand a document or were forced to sign it.

What Is Actually Done In A Notary?

A notary public of the common law is an official public officer appointed by law. The officer is legally responsible for serving the public by dealing with their non-contentious matters. These matters usually include general financial transactions, powers-of-attorneys, contracts, deeds, estates, and international business affairs.

Notary services can be offered to any person regardless of nationality. Look at the following main services provided by a notary:

Ratify And Formalize The Signature

It is demonstrated or acknowledged to be the person whose name appears on a legal document. It means people use a notary to ratify signatures on their important legal documents. These documents could be legal documents constituted during mediation and deposition transcripts made by court reporters. Hiring a notary can make the formalizing process of documents more efficient and quick.


It refers to any form of testimony or promise that defendants will tell the truth in the statement about them. Any person who intentionally gives false testimony before a consular officer (Foreign Service Officers) will be punished for perjury.

Sworn Statement 

A personal statement, verbal or written, is called a sworn statement. The authenticity of that statement is assured under oath before administrative or judicial authorities. Consequently, what is stated by the declarant is presumed to be true. The declarant acknowledges that the penalty of the false statement may follow if the truth is not told.

Corporate Acknowledgement 

The Corporate Acknowledgment is a certificate used when a notary official as a duly authorized corporate officer signs and acknowledges in support of a corporation. The officer basically validates the corporate identity.

Types of Documents Notarized:

Some common documents that may require notarization include:

  • Estate planning documents like wills and trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Affidavits
  • Deeds and property transfers
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Loan documents
  • Employment contracts
  • Deposition transcripts
  • Citizenship or immigration applications

Nearly any important document that requires signature and verification can be notarized. However, notaries are prohibited from notarizing blank documents.

Importance of Notarization: 

While notarization isn’t always required, it provides important benefits:

  • Deters document tampering and fraud
  • Allows disputed documents to be admitted as evidence in court
  • Discourages contesting a document’s validity later on
  • Gives legal weight and force to a document
  • May allow a document to be recorded publicly

Three Components of a Notary Public

Proven Integrity, the State’s Ministerial Officer, and Impartial Witness are three components of a notary public. 

Proven Integrity 

The whole purpose of a notary is to spot and prevent fraud. Therefore, notary applicants need to undergo a criminal background check under the statutes of Oregon. An applicant must not have been convicted of any criminal wrongdoing, such as fraud or deception during a decade before the application date. In case of conviction of defalcation or fraud, a person cannot receive a notarial commission. However, speeding ticket and other traffic violations are not pertinent to notarial functions. 

Ministerial Officer of the State 

The State commissions a notary public who acts as a state officer. The office is ministerial instead of a regulatory or judicial entity. Thus, their roles and duties are narrowly outlined to specific prescribed acts of narrow scope. A notary is responsible for abiding by written rules allowing only limited choice in exercising these acts. A notary must remember that they are not their employer’s notary, they are a State of Oregon Notary.

Impartial Witness 

Witnessing a legal proceeding is the main function of the notary. The notary may have the authority to reject to notarize if not satisfied with the signer’s readiness, capability, and identity. The notary does not authenticate or legitimatize the document nor give assurance to its veracity. It is crucial to the validity and rigorousness of the witnessed act that the notary be neutral.

Notary Fraud

Because notaries are entrusted with significant legal powers, notary fraud is a serious offense. Penalties for misconduct can include fines, loss of commission, and even criminal charges for offenses like embezzlement or forged certificates.

To avoid fraud, careful screening procedures and mandatory training help ensure notaries have integrity and accountability. Detailed record keeping requirements also make misconduct easier to detect. Periodic audits check that notaries are following proper procedures.

Still, there have been instances of notaries abusing their powers. Common notary scams include:

  • Certifying forged signatures
  • Failing to verify signer identity 
  • Charging more than legal maximum fees
  • Providing unauthorized legal advice

To avoid becoming a victim to notary fraud, it pays to be cautious when getting documents notarized. Only use licensed, qualified notaries who follow proper procedures. Reporting notary misconduct to authorities also helps shut down fraud.

Pac Signing – A Reliable Online Notary Public Service 

Pac Signing is the leading notary service company located in the heart of Portland, Oregon. We have well-qualified notaries, and thus we provide excellent services throughout the city. If you need our services in any state, like notary services in Hillsboro, Oregon, we are here to serve you. Our services include fingerprinting and background checks, mobile notary, i9 verification, and so on.