Public officer who certifies and attests to the authenticity of writings (e.g., deeds) and takes affidavits, depositions, and protests of negotiable instruments. The notary is commissioned by the state and may act only within the territory authorized by state statutes. Most states set maximum fees for notarial services and require that a notarial seal or stamp be impressed on documents authenticated by a notary public. In the civil-law countries of western Europe and in Latin American and French areas of North America, the role of the notary is more significant, being roughly equivalent to that of a lawyer who specializes in real estate, sales, mortgages, and the settlement of estates but who may not appear in court.
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Notary may refer to: