Know YOUR State Notary Law
Groan, I just passed off an assignment to a different Notary. Not just any assignment, and it goes to a Notary+ I write this on Nov 5, 2017, it’s a Sunday and also the day of the New York City Marathon. The fact that it’s Sunday is no big deal, usually a quiet day. But the Marathon is one of the few events worse (for traffic) than the first week of the UN General Assembly. The one with all the leading diplomats with the closed streets and Police caravans. But I stray.
The task was across Manhattan, at a hospital. Specifically, the task was to notarize a Will. It’s a good thing that I require What, Where and When to accept an assignment. In New York State it is illegal for me to notarize a will. That requires a “Notary+” someone who is both a Notary an also is an Attorney. That isn’t me. However, I do know of such a person and routinely provide contact information. I also explain exactly why I am prohibited. There is one weird exception to that rule. It’s called a New York State Attestation Section. With that as the signature page, then I only notarize the statements of the witnesses, but not that of the Testator.
Sayeth the caller: You can do it. The Will was prepared by a Virginia Lawyer, and it will be processed in Virginia. My Lawyer told me any Notary can notarize a Will. The Lawyer is using knowledge of Virginia Notary law; and projecting it as being applicable in New York. Such is not the case. A document needs to be notarized legally where the notary processes it. The Will could be for any location on planet Earth. The notarization follows local state law. Period, nothing else matters. Possibly an Apostille will be subsequently added, or translation, or embassy legalization; but the notarization is the foundation and follows local state law.
I mentioned today is Sunday, I must keep in mind a Sunday only restriction – one of the many strange New York State regulations. Today it’s illegal for me to notarize a Civil Deposition. Monday thru Saturday only for those. Perhaps the next caller might not be civil, they might be downright criminal. That’s OK today; notarizing a Criminal Deposition is just fine on Sunday.
This site, similar sites, legal opinions and internet gurus rarely specify the applicable state when they make their profound opinions known. Of course there are some valid generalizations; it’s likely that each state requires, for a routine notarization, that ID be shown. Some have mentioned on the Forum their state list of acceptable ID. That is good. My New York State Notary regulations cite that I must view “adequate proof” and leave me to wonder. So, I set my requirement as “Government issued Photo ID”, and ask each caller what ID they have.
Thus, even something so basic to notarization varies by state, probably a US passport is OK to use in every state. But, there might be a requirement out there for multiple IDs to be shown.
The take away from this installment is really knowing your license law. Everything other than what is in your state regulations is subordinate to those laws. Even the truly wise writings on http://123notary.com be it the blogs or the Forum, are just background information. Your state laws are “the only thing that matters”. When the LO or Title or the Signing Service or anybody else suggests something that conflicts with your state laws; tell them you are a “by the book” notary – “no can do what you want”. Of course you must not just be “familiar” you must know your state regulations. They can change, when is the last time you read ALL your notary laws?