Texas Notary Public – What We Do
Occasionally, people create a document and want to get it “notarized”.
The document originator may feel that having the document notarized will somehow make the document “legal”, therefore assuring that it will “hold up in court”.
I italicized the words in quotes, to emphasize a common assumption made by document creators and document signers who hire Texas Notaries. That assumption is that a Texas Notary’s stamp or seal makes your document a legal document that will hold up in court. To be honest, since I am not an attorney, nor am I authorized to practice law in the state of Texas, I cannot tell anyone what constitutes a “legal binding document that will hold up in court”.
The Texas Secretary of State provides the following when defining the primary duties of a Texas Notary Public:
The primary duty of a Notary Public is to show that a disinterested party (the Notary Public) has duly notified the signer of an instrument as to the importance of such document, and the signer of such document has declared that the signer’s identity, signature, and reasons for signing such instrument are genuine. The signature and seal of a Notary Public do not prove these facts conclusively, but provide prima facie proof of them, and allow persons in trade and commerce to rely upon the truth and veracity of the Notary Public as a third party who has no personal interest in the transaction.
Basically, this means that, as a disinterested third party, we (notaries) should not be benefitting in any way from the document being signed. The notary’s primary responsibility is to properly identify the person who is signing the document, confirm that the signer understands the contents of the document, and make sure the person is signing of his or her own free will.
In essence, as a Texas Notary Public, I do not notarize your document, I notarize the signer’s signature. This is why many of the Texas Notary’s primary duties focus on the signer and the notarial certificate attached to the document, not the document itself. However, many signers, when contacting a notary for notarizations, think it is the other way around. The signer’s focus is usually on the need for notarization and they lack the knowledge of the true notarization process and purpose.