Notary Public Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Notary Public, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Notary Public?

Someone who has power bestowed upon by the state to administer oaths, verify documents and certify as valid and acknowledge signatures, all under his/her seal. Normally the notary publics deals in cases of authenticating the duplicates in the sight of originals by signing and sealing the documents. The documents are generally the official documents and commercial instruments.

History and Meaning of Notary Public

The origin of Notary Public can be traced back to ancient Rome. Notaries were highly respected professionals who served as public record keepers and draftsmen. In the Middle Ages, monarchs began appointing notaries to act as trusted representatives in legal transactions. Over the years, notaries have adapted to modern legal systems, but their primary function of providing authentication and preventing fraud remains the same.

Today, in the United States, notary public is a state-appointed official who serves as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. Notaries verify the identities of signers, ensure that they are signing voluntarily, and certify that the document is accurate and complete.

Examples of Notary Public

  1. John needed to have his will notarized, so he visited a nearby notary public to have the document certified.
  2. Maria needed to sign a legal agreement for her new job, but the company required it to be notarized. She visited a notary public to take care of the certification.
  3. When purchasing a home, the closing documents must be notarized to ensure the authenticity of the transaction. The notary public conducts this process to finalize the sale.

Legal Terms Similar to Notary Public

  1. Acknowledgment: A legal term that refers to the process of verifying and certifying the authenticity of a legal document or signature by a notary public or other authorized person.
  2. Jurat: A written certification on a document indicating that it was signed by the person in the presence of a notary public and sworn to under oath or affirmation.
  3. Affidavit: A written statement that is sworn to under oath or affirmation by the signer before a notary public or other authorized person.