A notary public is a government appointed public officer, who does the important job of authorizing documents like agreements, deeds, powers-of attorney concerned with real estate and international businesses. He acts as a government appointed witness to authenticate signatures on agreements and other financial instruments, as well as administers oaths.
The tasks that are a part of the notary public's job profile are quite diverse. It's a job that comes with a fair bit of responsibility. When you authenticate or notarize a document, you are totally responsible for it. You face criminal charges, if any of the documents or agreements authenticated by you turn out to be fake or forged.
It's a job that tests your integrity and judgment. So it's always essential that a notary public checks the identities of the people involved in the agreement or deed before authenticating it. He executes many other jobs related to state jurisdiction including things like authenticating lease agreements. You could call it a government job.
The position is not that difficult to secure. It does not require any specialized training or experience. Candidates have to pass some tests and undergo a thorough background check.
The most important restriction on a notary is that he can authenticate instruments of law like deeds and agreements but cannot practice law or prepare legal documents. He is not supposed to offer legal counsel to anybody involved in an agreement.
Meet Age and Other Requirements
You have to be at least 18 years of age to become a public notary. Also, you need to be a permanent resident of the state in which you intend to serve as a notary public.
Meet a notary public in your area or attend public seminars to know about the nature of this profession. Proceed only after you have thorough knowledge of job description and responsibilities, and you are confident about following this career path. Then there is no looking back!
Fill out Application Form and Pay Fees
You need to fill out a form obtained from the 'National Notary Commission (NNA)', which asks for your age, name, address, educational qualification and previous notarizing experience if any. Then you are required to submit the form along with requisite documents and prescribed fee.
An oath of office needs to be signed by the applicant and attached with the form. This oath of office can also be filed with a county clerk. The authorization of the application is usually done by the office of the secretary of state or the governor.
You may have to file a bond too. The requirements vary from state to state in USA. You will find the details about the procedure, along with fees involved, on the NNA website. Just call up their helpline and they will guide you through.
Clear Background Check Pass the Requisite Tests
A clean background record is essential. Get the background check thing cleared. In certain states, an exam needs to be cleared to become a notary public. So, schedule your exam date and prepare for the same.
There are coaching classes offered by various institutes for these exams. Also, in some states, there is a requisite number of study hours which you must complete, before taking the exam.
Obtain a License and Start Networking
If you clear all these formalities, nothing can stop you from being a notary public. Once you are authorized by the state, you get your own notarial seal, which is your most important tool. Start networking and advertise your services to businesses in your area, as they frequently require your specific expertise.
Becoming an established notary public and being a trustworthy figure requires years of dedicated and disciplined service. You need to be a good judge of people and their intentions. People with a strong sense of fairness and integrity should aim for this job.