A notary public in Chinatown is a public servant appointed by a state official. The general focus of his or her job is to witness the documents’ verification and administer oaths. They serve to deter fraud, appearing as an impartial witness for legal documents such as affidavits, deeds or powers of attorney. The presence of a notary public helps to screen for imposters and make sure both parties are entering into an agreement knowingly and willingly.
Similarly, legalization is the process of proper authentication or screening of documents or the notary by the high commission or the embassy or the consulate of the country in which the document is to be used is authorized to or located in Singapore. In simple terms, it is the official confirmation of the originality of the documents or we can say that document legalization is just the confirmation that the stamp, seal or the signature showing in the document is genuine and not a fraud.
Chinatown Notary Public Service Locations
We have been notarizing documents for over 12 years and am astounded by the incredible number of incompetent notaries that are notarizing documents on a daily basis and how little the public knows about this serious problem-until they learn about it the hard way. I have personally seen hundreds of documents rejected by county clerks and consulates for leaving out required notary wording, including incorrect information, using blurry stamps and a variety of other reasons. Every day, these untrained and seemingly clueless notaries put countless legal documents and contractual arrangements at risk-from Power-of-Attorney and Loan Documents to Prenuptial Agreements, Travel Consent Forms and Wills.
Most of the notaries notarizing today have received little or no training. They may study for a few hours or days, take the notary license test and then just start stamping away with no real understanding of the principles of notarizing or the mandatory notary requirements. A high percentage of notaries don't know even the most basic notarization requirement: that a notarized document include either what is known as a notary "acknowledgement" or a "jurat," two types of notary statements that are the core of a notarization. Having just the notary's commission stamp and signature on a document, a common practice by many notaries, does not make it notarized.
And you don't have to take my word for it. A study by one state association of notaries a few years ago confirmed that "a majority of notaries" were "not performing their duties properly." The study took place in NY but it could have been done anywhere in the US with the same results.
Another mistake notaries make is related to the location where the notarization takes place. The notary section must include the notary "venue": the state and county where the notarization took place. Instead of writing in where the notarization took place, many notaries often write in the county in which they have their notary commission filed (information that is included on their notary stamps and not what is needed for the venue). Or they don't see that the notary location is completely omitted from the document and do not add it.
Notary customers are constantly caught off-guard by this negligence or incompetence and it often has major consequences. Frequently, a customer will end up waiting on a government agency line for an hour or two to get a notarized document approved and then have to start from scratch when the document is rejected because the notary had no idea what he or she was doing. The notary customer may even have a flight later that day that will need to be delayed or cancelled due to not being able to get his or her documents properly approved in time. I would bet there are worse disasters that incompetent or inexperienced notaries have caused that I am just not aware of.
Action needs to be taken to prevent these sloppy practices from continuing. It's time the Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor in all 50 states--from NY to California--stepped in and started monitoring notaries more closely. To test their skills, test administrators should give notaries a variety of sample documents (not theoretical multiple-choice questions that have little relevance to notarizing an actual document) and should be instructed to notarize the test documents for various purposes, including international use. Then we can finally weed out the good notaries from the bad, reduce the number of legal documents that have to be re-executed, re-notarized and re-authenticated and to give the general public a break.
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Many people may not be exactly sure what a notary public does. First and foremost a notary public can go by several different names: public notary, notary public, notaries public, etc. A notary public is a person who is an official who is sworn in, and bonded in the U.S. state where they are a resident by the Secretary of State. Depending on the state, the process of becoming a notary public can vary slightly, but for the most part is very similar from state to state.
The most common task, or transaction that a notary will perform is to witness the signing of documents, typically known as the execution of a document. The notary will verify that person present signing the particular document is who they claim to be. In order to verify the person's identity the notary public will check the person's photo identification. They will also confirm that the person signing the document, or documents fully understands what they are signing, and is not being forced (or also known as being under duress).
A notary works independently, is expected to use their best judgment, and to follow the state law. If a notary suspects that a signer does not understand what he/she is signing, is being "tricked", or coerced, is not of sound mind, it is the job of the public notary to refuse to notarize the document. By doing this the notary is serving the purpose their job was created for, to protect the general public.
A notary public may also verify that a signer has sworn to an oath regarding the affirmation of truth contained in a document; this may be more commonly known as a sworn statement.
After documents are signed in many states the notary will then place his/her notary seal on the papers. Some states do require a notary to have a notary seal, but more important than the seal is the notary's journal. In the notary's journal, the notary will record the name, signature, and the date of the signer that has appeared before them to sign the document, or documents. In addition to collecting this information, in many states the notary is required to take the thumbprint of the signer as well. This step is very important, because if in the future is ever disputed that a particular document was, or was not signed by that particular person, the finger print can be used as proof since it is unique.
You may be saying to yourself "this is a lot of information for me to have to know to get a document notarized." Well, there is no need for you to remember all this information. When you seek out the services of a notary public, they will walk you through all these steps mentioned above, and explain to you what is going on.
If you need to find a public notary, they can typically be found very easily during the course of your normal day. The first thing to ask when you receive documents that need to be notarized "is there someone here who can notarize these for me", if not they can most likely point you to someone nearby who can notarize the documents for you.
Other places notaries can be found are: Banks, Insurance Offices, Post Office, Real Estate Offices, Mortgage Offices, and the local UPS store.