A Notary Public is a state official, who is authorized by law to legally certify that the person signing a document, has provided the notary with proof that the name being signed is the name of the signer. This proof is established either through the notary’s personal knowledge, or with a legal identification card that provided the notary with a sample of the signer’s signature, and his photograph. A notary’s function is to protect against fraud by acting as an impartial witness that the signer is authentic, and is not signing against his or her will.

Sometimes you will need a notarized document that will have to be sent to a different state where there is no state record that a particular Illinois notary is actually a state appointed notary public. In order to obtain proof the notary is qualified, you can contact the Illinois Secretary of State, or the local county clerk.

For a notary to notarize (sign and provide her seal) a form document, it must not have any blank lines. If you have a form document you need notarized, simply insert the words, “not applicable” to the spaces that do not apply to you.

Notaries usually certify signatures on the following kinds of documents: quit claim deeds, trust documents, property transfers, wills, powers of attorney, legal affidavits, loan modifications, and visa and passport documents.

Many people make the mistake of concluding that by obtaining a notary certification; somehow the document that is being signed becomes legally binding, or is proven to be accurate and true. In reality, a notary’s certification has nothing to do with the substance of the document being signed. The notary seal does not say that the document is true, or that it is false. The notary only certifies that the person alleged to have signed the document, actually signed it.

Remember that if you need a document notarized, not to sign it until you are in the presence of the notary.

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