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A Notary Public is a servant of the state who is authorized to witness signatures on important documents and swear-in people preparing to testify. Some documents cannot be recorded at the courthouse until they literally receive your Notary Public stamp of approval.
Unless you work for a large firm of Lawyers, notarizing is rarely a full-time position as a Notary Public. Most Notaries have a day job and offer Notary services on the side. You may work at a bank, 7-11, or title company, with your Notary responsibilities used only on occasion.
When your duties are requested, the job consists of verifying the signer’s identity via passport, license, or military ID. You then confirm that the person both understands the document and signs it willingly. You may not offer any legal advice unless you are also a Lawyer. Once the document is signed, you pull out your state-supplied embossing stamp, imprint the document, and add your signature for good measure.
Some private parties request you to witness signatures to discourage fraud and increase legitimacy of the document. That way, after Uncle Bigbucks passes away, the family will find it difficult to dispute the signature on his will. Some official documents (land deeds, affidavits, and powers of attorney) call for your services as well.
The mere act of notarizing a document does not make it legal or binding and you are legally protected, if the document is disputed in court. Nonetheless, integrity is a top priority.