What is a notary public?


Quick Answer

A notary public is someone granted authority by a state to witness the signing of official documents and notarize them with an official seal carrying the notary's signature and the date, according to the American Society of Notaries. Ensuring signatures are given voluntarily and with sound judgment is important.

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Full Answer

The purpose of the notarization process is to provide an objective witness to a document signing who is appointed by the state, reports the National Notary Association. A notary public only affirms signatures when the signers are physically there and present identification. Prior to notarizing the document, the notary public gauges whether the signers are of sound mound and aware of what they are signing.

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