Every state of the union has different policies and procedures regarding notary publics and the services they can provide and charge for. Read on to learn about the different services notaries can charge for.
Notarizations In general, notaries can charge a set amount per Notarized signature for acknowledgements and jurats. (the most commonly used notarial forms.) If you have a 20 page document, with 16 signature lines but only one that needs to be notarized, the notary can only charge you for ONE notarization. If there are two signers for the same notarized document, the notary will charge for two notarizations. Unscrupulous notaries have been known to charge for each signature, notarized or not. Don't be taken!
Copies Notaries can certify copies of certain documents for specified fees. Some states allow notaries to certify copies of POWERS OF ATTORNEY only. Other state laws allow copy certification of other documents as well. The notary must have in front of her both the original document and the copy for comparison purposes. Many mobile notary services in Alaska will simply make their own copy and certify that copy rather than read and compare each word with the original. Notaries may also provide copies of Notary journal entries. In many states, notaries are required to keep a journal of all notarial acts. Anyone in the general public may request a copy of the journal entry provided they make the request including specific information in writing.
Oaths and Affirmations These are usually part of a jurat form such as an affidavit, but they can be independent of any other notarial paperwork. The notary can charge for each oath or affirmation administered for each document (if applicable). For example, if there are two affidavits that need oaths from two affiants (signers) the notary can charge for FOUR oaths or affirmations.
Travel If you travel to a notary's office or home, they may not charge an additional fee other than those allowed by state law for notary services. If a notary travels to you, or meets you at a location away from their home or office, they may charge for travel time. In many states, there are no specific regulations regarding these charges except that the charge be agreed upon by the notary and the signer. Ask the notary up front for the charge. Most will charge by the mile, often with a minimum amount, and with various programs available it should not be difficult to calculate the charges ahead of time.
Presentation of Documents Often a lender, title insurer or escrow company will hire a notary public to present and gather signatures on a variety of real estate documents. They will pay the notary, often through a loan signing service, for both the notarizations and presentation of other documents. You may see this listed on your HUD-1 statement as "Notary Fee" and may list the name of the signing service employed.
A good consumer will ask questions and understand charges before the notary appointment.
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