Ok, campers–back to some more notary public FAQs…“But, Coy–you’re saying this is a faith and religion column?” I know–but if you’ll get on track and stay with me until we end this, you’ll see how the chaos on this makes perfect sense. Come on–let’s go…
What are the responsibilities of a Texas notary?
The primary responsibility of a Texas notary public is to prevent fraud. This is accomplished by:
Confirming that the signer is who he or she claims to be
Ensuring that the signer acknowledges, in the presence of the notary, that he or she understands and has voluntarily signed a document on a given date
Placing the signer under oath
Taking an affirmation of the truthfulness of a statement made
(COY’S NOTE–You’d BETTER NOT be lying to me if you use my notary public services! Under Texas state law, doing so is called PERJURY! If you are indicted, tried, and sentenced in a duly established court of law for committing perjury during a notarial session with me, the penalty can range from fines to up to TWO YEARS STATE JAIL TIME! I hate to scare you–but if you appear before me and expect me to notarize a certain document for you, it’s a necessary caution for you to take all of this VERY seriously!)
Can a Texas notary notarize his or her own signature?
No. A Texas notary CANNOT notarize his or her own signature. (COY’S NOTE–Remember what I said about me having to go to the library myself to get my own stuff notarized? Enough said on that…)
Can a Texas notary notarize his or her spouse’s signature or for his or her spouse’s business documents?
There is no statute that addresses this question, but the general rule is that a Texas notary cannot perform a notarization on any document in which he or she is a party to the instrument or in which he or she has a personal or financially beneficial interest in the transaction.
Can a Texas notary notarize for his or her relatives?
There is no specific answer to this question in the state statutes; you must determine if you have any financial or beneficial interest in the transaction.
(COY’S NOTE:) The safe answer to the last two is–NO! CAN’T DO IT…FORGET IT! Next question?
Can a Texas notary notarize a signature without the person being present? Can I take acknowledgments over the phone?
No. A Texas notary who is not commissioned as an online notary may only perform notarial acts when the signer is present at the time the transaction takes place. Remember that the primary function of a Texas notary is to prevent fraud. Notaries do this in part by requiring the personal physical presence of the signer, making a positive identification of the signer, and placing the signer under oath or affirmation, or taking the acknowledgment of the signer that the document was signed willingly for the purposes stated in it. Often, forgeries occur because the notary fails to require the document signer to be present for the notarization.
Must the document be signed in a notary’s presence?
Any document requiring an oath or affirmation must be signed in the presence of the Texas notary. A document requiring an acknowledgment of a signature may have been signed prior to the appearance of the signer before the Texas notary, but in order for the acknowledgment to be made, the signer must again appear before the notary to acknowledge that he or she signed the document. A Texas notary may not complete any notarial certificate without the appearance of the signer at the time the notarial act takes place and the certificate is completed.
If a document requiring an oath is signed prior to the signer appearing before a Texas notary, can the notary refuse to notarize?
No. The notary should simply request that the signer sign the document again. The notary may add a note in their record book, “second signature at the
request of the notary” or something to that effect.
(COY’S ADVICE TO THE ABOVE–BEFORE you see me, simply tear it up and start all over again so I don’t have to do this, PLEASE? With major league sugar on top? THAT’S WHY I tell people NOT to sign their document in the first place UNLESS AND UNTIL they see me FIRST and I TELL them they can do so—after the above steps just mentioned take place, of course….)
Still more notary FAQs to do in the next edition…Until next time (as He allows), see ya at the CROSSroads–
(More details on CoyRH/SEATC Clerical Services via the contact info available at https://coyrhseatcbspm.wixsite.com/walking .)
CoyRH At The Crossroads