As a notary public, you might find yourself in confusing situations where you are wondering whether or not to notarize a document. Most of the time, there is no reason to say no. Most people that seek out notary publics are aware of the legalities involved. However, that does not always stop a person from knowing the legalities and disregarding them.
Tinsley Keefe has told numerous notary publics in Oklahoma City tips on identifying possibly troubling notarization offers. For example, a huge red flag is when the signer is not even present. The bottom line is that legally you cannot notarize a document without the signer present. Likewise, if the client does not have proper documentation to prove their identity, it is a no-go.
On the other hand, there might be a few instances that notary publics do not think about. As a notary public in Oklahoma, Tinsley is constantly reminding her peers not to notarize documents where the signer is unwilling to provide their oath or where the signer appears to be inebriated. Another rare but not unheard of scenario is a person being forced to sign. Always keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.
Furthermore, there are document disqualifications that can influence whether or not to notarize documents. When operating as a notary public in OKC, Tinsley Keefe has to keep an eye out for documents missing pages or containing blank spaces, as well as documents missing the notarial certificate. In addition, you must also be aware that you are not permitted to notarize your own documents, nor the documents belonging to a spouse, parents, or children.
Overall, Tinsley urges notary publics to use their commonsense when dealing with the legalities in the notary public world. If a document appears to be false, do not notarize it. If the client refuses to pay the fee or tries to negotiate, do not notarize. However, there are also instances where you need to know that notarizing something is necessary even if it does not feel right. In the world of notary publics – Oklahoma born or not – Tinsley reminds everyone that there is no room for prejudice views.
For example, if you are considering refusing a notarization due to personal bias or beliefs . . . rethink that choice. You might want to think of the backlash you will receive from society if you deny someone based on their nationality, religion, race, age, lifestyle, gender, or a disability they might have. Another thing that causes confusion among notary publics in Oklahoma: the difference between legal requirements and best practices. For instance, when a signer refuses to leave a thumbprint, most scenarios classify the occurrence as a “best practice” as opposed to a “legal requirement”.
Overall, if you ever have a question on the legality of something when notarizing a document, you need to ask. It is very important to abide to all legal requirements – if you do not; you risk the chance of losing your career.