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What Documents Can a Notary Public Sign?

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A notary public is licensed by her state to witness the signing of official documents and attest to the identity of the signer. The notary may affix her official seal to the signed document to show that it has been notarized. Taking oaths and acknowledgements is also an important part of a notary’s job. In fact, many different types of documents may be notarized, as long as the text commits the signer in some way, and an original signature is required.


An affidavit must by definition by signed under oath before a notary public. An affidavit is a written document, voluntarily given by the signing party, and may be used in a number of different situations. Certain business transactions may require an affidavit. Someone applying for credit might be asked for an affidavit on his financial condition. Affidavits may be used in civil or criminal court proceedings.

Real Estate Documents

Mortgage loan documents are required to be notarized in order to be legally binding. The notary must see photo ID to prove the identity of the signatory, and he must be sure that the signing of the loan documents is done willingly, and in full knowledge of their contents. In the same way, real estate deeds, which attest to legal ownership of property, must also be notarized.

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Wills do not need to be notarized to be valid and legally binding, but many people do choose to sign their will in front of a notary, and have their witnesses sign a notarized affidavit at the same time. This process makes probate run much more smoothly once it’s time for the will to be executed, because there is no legal doubt over the validity of the will.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that legally appoints someone else to act on your behalf in specific matters. It’s commonly used when you are unable or unavailable to organize your own affairs. They may be used to handle financial transactions, make health-care decisions or act in real estate management. Most authorities expect powers of attorney to be notarized in order to be legally binding.

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