A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government — typically by the Secretary of State — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing various official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts.
The foundation of the Notary’s public as an official representative of the state is in its impartiality. They are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuses to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or status as a non-customer.
A false statement made to a Notary, under Oath, is Perjury, the same as a false statement made under Oath in a Court of Law.
Some of the usual and customary notarial functions include:
- Administering Oaths and Affirmations.
- Taking Affidavits and Depositions.
- Receiving and certifying Acknowledgments or proof of such written instruments as Deeds, Mortgages, and Powers of Attorney.
- Demanding acceptance or payment of foreign inland Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes and Obligations in Writing, and protesting the same for nonpayment.
- Copy Certifications.
A notary public is not responsible for verifying the truth or accuracy of the contents of a document. A notary does not make documents legal or official.
Unlike Notaries in foreign countries, a U.S. Notary Public is not an attorney, judge, or high-ranking official.