Updated: Jan 31, 2020
A Notary Public is a public officer, usually appointed by the Secretary of State, tasked with verifying the authenticity of important transactions.
Notary Publics help deter fraud by witnessing the signing of important documents and verifying the identity of the signer(s), their willingness to sign the documents, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. Some examples of documents that usually require notarization are estates, deeds, powers of attorney, affidavits, licenses, contracts, loan documents and trusts.
Notary Public's also perform oaths and affirmations. The signer will swear, under penalty of perjury, to the validity of the information contained within the document or transaction.
OATH (spoken pledge to God or a higher being)
"Do you solemnly swear that the statements in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief, so help you God?"
AFFIRMATION (no reference to a higher being)
"Do you solemnly swear, under penalty of perjury, that the statements in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?"