WHAT IS A NOTARY PUBLIC?
The Notary's term of office is four years and is applicable state-wide. He/She is an officer of the state of Alabama and is appointed by the Probate Judge of their county. As the name implies, a Notary Public is a public officer located in the community so that he or she may be of service to the public. Our laws consider certain instruments of such importance that they must be signed by the maker in the presence of a public officer, the Notary Public.
NOTARY RECORD KEEPING.
Before a notarization is executed, a Notary's primary duties include requesting a valid non-expired photo i.d., such as a driver’s license, military i.d, or a valid non-expired passport, to identify the signer. With legislative enactment of Act No. 2011-295 (Section 2), the requirement was repealed that each Alabama Notary "keep a fair register of all his/her official acts" (formerly COA 36-20-7), effective January 1, 2012. Notary's may keep records. Even with enactment of Act No. 2011-295, nothing prevents an Alabama Notary from continuing or beginning to keep a record of all officials acts. However, it is highly recommended and is supported by the Alabama Secretary of State's Office that the notary should continue to record every notarization act into a Notary journal. Be very detailed with your recordings. Should there be any question regarding the Notary's transaction, your log will verify the information.
NOTARY GENERAL INFORMATION.
Should you have an elder person that needs a document notarized, please be careful. You may need to ask very carefully if they are aware of what he/she is signing. The Notary is not authorized to practice law or give legal advice. The Notary may not take acknowledgments over the telephone or take an acknowledgment because he recognizes the signature or a friend states that it is the person's signature. If appointed, you must never take an acknowledgment unless the person being acknowledged appears before you, otherwise, the whole purpose is defeated, and this will prevent fraud and forgery. Notaries are important because they provide safety to business transactions. But, unless the notary does the job correctly, serious legal problems can result for the notary!
NOTARY PUBLIC QUALIFICATIONS & APPLICATION.
Consumer must provide proof of residency, must apply in the county of his/her residency, must be 18 years of age, and must be capable of posting a $25,000.00 bond with the Notary application, including a $10.00 fee for the issuance of a Notary commission. If a convicted felon who has not served in office, receives a pardon, which specifically restores his/her civil and political rights, such pardon removes the disability accompanying a felony conviction, including the ineligibility to hold office. Please note, it is highly encouraged that you also purchase E & O Insurance (errors & omissions insurance) to protect yourself should you become sued. The general required notary bond protects the signer, not the notary, therefore it is encouraged to add additional protection to cover your legal fees should you be part of or named in a law suit....and it can happen to you! " It is strongly advised, if you are not required to be a notary, then do not apply. "
ROLE AND POWERS OF THE NOTARY.
The role, function and powers of the Notary Public are vastly misunderstood. There is a natural tendency to downplay the importance of notarization's in executing legal documents and instruments. It seems that they are easily treated as inconsequential. Whether the notarization is performed as a mailer of statutory compliance or as a means of enhancing the security of a transaction, it is an act and function of law. It is not inconsequential. Civil and criminal consequences of wrongful notarization’s can be surprisingly severe. Attorneys are bond by the canons of ethics to ensure the correct and truthful performance of notarization's under their supervision. The prudent attorney ensures that notarization's under his supervision are performed competently and truthfully.
THE FUNCTION OF A NOTARY.
A Notary Public is a public officer whose function is: To administer oaths; and to attest and certify, by his/her signature and official seal, certain classes of documents, in order to give them credit and authenticity; and to take acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances and certify the same; and to perform certain official acts, chiefly in commercial matters, such as the protesting of notes and bills, the notice of foreign drafts, and marine protests in cases of damage.
TYPES OF NOTARIES.
1. State-at-large; may perform duties of the office State-wide; 2. Civil law notary; for attorneys only
EVERY NOTARY IN AMERICA HAS A LEGAL DUTY TO KNOW 4 important principles:
Know your state's notary laws; Know the difference between notary laws and notary folklore (the former is binding upon you, the latter will only get you into trouble); Know the standards of reasonable care for every notarial act; and Know to STOP the notarization if you feel that fraud is present.
Effective January 1, 2012, Alabama Notaries may seal documents with either their seal embosser or their seal inking stamp, code of Alabama (COA 36-20-72) . Formerly, only an embosser was permitted. However, when a document is authenticated, apostilled, or certified, the embosser must be used, and you may also affix an ink seal.