Do Notarized Documents Hold up in Court?

notarized-documents-hold-up-court Credit: Ed Schipul/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Whether a notarized document holds up in court often depends on what kind of document and for what purpose it is being presented in the courtroom. According to Notary Wise, having a document notarized does not necessarily make it true or legal. Ultimately, a court-appointed judge must make that decision.

Having a document notarized generally means that a notary has verified the identity of a person who signs a document. The notary stamp signifies that the notary has witnessed the signing of the document. Notary Wise explains that a notary's signature also typically means that the document signer has vouched under oath that the contents of the document are true. Although the presence of a notary does not prove conclusively that the documents being signed are true, the website for the Texas secretary of state explains that a notary public is expected to act a public servant, becoming a third party with no personal interest in the transaction of document verification.

According to the New York State Division of Licensing Services, a notary public must first take and pass a notary public exam before notarizing documents. Notaries must also take an oath of office and pay a fee to get licensed, or commissioned, by the secretary of state in their county of residence. The commission term is for four years. Newly appointed notaries receive an identification card from the state that verifies their identity and lists their county and commission term. The commission record and official signature of notaries can be accessed by the public through the county clerk's office.