Why Notaries Cannot Notarize Their Own Documents

As a person running a notary international and document services, or notary service, notary attestation, or someone providing notary attested documents, you are free to do all those for your clients, or for any person who is in need of those services, so long as you are an accredited notary. In another scenario, you are finalizing the purchase of a house or other real estate for your own use, and obviously there is some documentation that needs notary attestation.  But, if you are an accredited notary yourself, you cannot notarize your own documents. As an accredited notary, obviously you know who you are but still you are barred from notarizing your own documents.

Just like any other person, notaries are also humans and an accredited notary may find himself/herself in a position where he/she needs to create an advance directive outlining his/her preferences with respect to medical care when they cannot make such decisions due to physical or medical constraints. In such circumstances, it is only natural for the notary to assume that the advance directive or living will be attested by himself, particularly because it saves precious time and some money. But there are several reasons why an accredited notary cannot notarize his/her own document.

Notary Laws

Notary signing his/her own documents is strictly prohibited in nearly every jurisdiction when the notary is a party to the transaction outlined in the document, has a beneficial or financial interest or is a signatory to one or more connected documents.

Impartial Witness

A notary public cannot be an impartial witness or disinterested party in instances where his/her own documents are to be notarized. Fundamentally, the role of the notary is to act as a third party independent witness of the signature and the individual signing the document and to willingly and freely verify the identity of the individual signing the document, administering an oath, or obtain an acknowledgement from the person signing the document.

If a notary notarizes her/his own documents, then all the steps needed for getting an acknowledgement from the person signing the document will be skipped. Obviously, this defeats the purpose of notarization. Further, there will be a direct and real conflict of interests, potentially compromising the entire process. There are many accredited professionals in Melbourne and across Australia who can throw more light on notaries and notary services in Australia.

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Some Exceptions Though

In states that stipulate a notary journal, upon request, notaries can self-certify entries from the notary journal as an unaltered and true copy. In states that allow certifying copies of documents classified as non-recordable, notaries self-certify copy of an original document that was presented by customers. In either of these situations, notaries will also create a notarial certificate wearing the copies to be true, and an unaltered copy of the original. After this, the notary will place her/his signature along with the notary seal on the relevant document and create an entry in the notary journal.  In all these instances it is important to comprehend the rules and laws set forth by the state. Any prohibited act performed by a notary will attract consequential liabilities under criminal/civil laws which may include suspension/revocation of his accreditation as a notary public.

Process Of Notarization

Typically, notaries perform different steps in the process of notarizing documents. They should verify the identity of the individual signing the document, witness the signature as the executor signs on the document, and put the official seal of the notary on the document. The official seal may not be stipulated in some jurisdictions.  But, the final seal that the notary affixes on the document affirms that the notary has checked the identity of the executor and physically watched the signature affixed on the document.  While not entirely foolproof, these steps are designed to prevent potential fraud.

If a notary notarizes her/his own document, it negates the intent of notarizing a document. A notary can notarize a document without complying with the normal process of verification or identification and that is the main reason why most states ban notaries explicitly from notarizing their own documents.

Notaries In The Role Of A Witness

Though notaries are banned from notarizing their documents, there can be instances where they may be required to sign as a witness as well as the notary. Certain documents may require one or multiple witnesses apart from notarization. When a single witness is required, then the executor can take the document to a notary for notarization and witnessing by the same notary public. However, it is important that notaries can affix their signature as a witness only when the witness signature does not call for notarization. Laws with respect to notarization of a witness signature can differ from one jurisdiction to the other.

Notary Public In Australia

Notary public has limited roles in Australian jurisdiction. But, with regard to documents produced in foreign countries, the services of a notary international and document services, or notary service, notary attestation, or someone providing notary attested documents can become relevant. Though the duties of a notary are similar to attorneys, generally work of notaries gains an expanded scope in comparison to attorneys. Similarly, the authority of a notary and the type of documents they are authorized to handle can also vary from one state to another.

Appointment Of Notaries In Australia

Respective states in Australia appoint notaries through legislation, except in the state of Queensland. The Supreme Court makes these appointments, and legal professionals are generally admitted to the position of notaries.  However, in Queensland, the authority for the appointment of notaries rests with the Archbishop’s court.  Individuals who seek appointment as notaries are generally legal professionals and they should demonstrate adequate knowledge for practising as a notary and explain the need for such an appointment.

Need For Notarization In Australia

Presently, the need for notarization in Australia is limited. However, students wanting to take up higher studies in foreign universities, businesses needing to sign international contracts, businesses with trade dispute in foreign lands are among candidates who may need notary international and document services, or notary service, notary attestation etc.