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FAQS

FAQs of notarizations in Northern Virginia

 1.  What should I know in order to arrange a notary appointment for my elderly parents? 
2.  What is the notary's role?  
3.   What is a mobile notary public?
4.   Why does the notary skim the documents before notarizing? Are they being nosy?
5.   Can my document get notarized even though there are blanks?
6.   What is the difference between a notary and a loan signing agent?
7.    Can a notary notarize a COPY of a birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate?
8.   What can a mobile Virginia notary public charge for services?
9.   What are some acceptable meeting locations other than our home? 
10. What should I do if the document has no notarial verbiage after my signature line?
       Can it still be notarized?
11.   I'm moving to Spain and my new school requires that my high school transcript and    diploma get the apostille seal at the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Can you notarize my transcript and diploma? 

1.  What should I know in order to arrange a notary appointment for my elderly parents?

Elderly parents get documents notarized

The elderly signer must have a valid, unexpired government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license or passport.
If they are no longer driving, having a state-issued ID card is a good idea.
Learn about
Virginia's DMV Adult ID Card

The signer should have time to review the documents before the notary arrives and should make sure they have filled in any blanks, except for their signature or initials. They must be alert and aware; they must show an understanding of the purpose and content of the document, must sign willingly, and be able to communicate with the notary in a common language. In some cases, the notary may have to refuse to notarize if a person doesn't meet these criteria.

WITNESSES: If you are arranging a notary appointment for your family member and witnesses are required, please ensure that they can be present. Witnesses must be at least 18 years of age, be of sound mind, cannot be named in the
documents, and be a disinterested party. 

2.  What is the notary's role?

A notary public serves as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. The notary performs a variety of notarial acts, or notarizations, according to their state guidelines, related to the signing of documents. The purpose of these guidelines is to deter against fraud. The notary's most important role is to screen the signer for several things: their true identity, their willingness to sign the document, and their understanding of what they're signing. Some commonly notarized documents are the property deed, last will and testament, and the power of attorney.

3.  What is a mobile notary public?

Mobile notary service in Fairfax, VA

A mobile notary travels to the client to notarize their legal documents. I (June the Notary) travel to the location of your choice because many people have busy lives or are just not mobile themselves. I travel to your home, office, bank, or healthcare facility (assisted living, hospital, or rehab), and I will even schedule evening and weekend appointments, if needed.  

4.  Why does the notary skim the documents to be notarized?  Are they being nosy? 

Although the notary is not concerned with the contents of the document to be notarized, they are required to visually skim the entire document for several reasons. If the document contains any blanks, they will ask the signer to complete them before signing. All required dates should be filled in as well. If spaces are purposely left blank, the signer should strike out the text with a line or write N/A beside it. What seem like little actions can protect the signer against fraud. The notary must also identify several items to make sure the document is complete--the document's name, its title or general description, names of the signers and/or witnesses, and the total number of pages. These items get noted in the notary's journal.

5.  Can my document get notarized even though there are some blanks? 

No, there should not be any blank lines in your documents. The notary looks for blank lines, as they may not notarize an incomplete document. It is mainly for the signer's protection that this is so, as signing an incomplete document may facilitate fraud. In several states it is illegal to notarize an incomplete document. It pays to review your document carefully before getting it notarized, as you may have to contact the assigning party if unsure about how to complete something. Only when it is complete can you have it notarized. 

6.  What is the difference between a notary and a loan signing agent?

All certified loan signing agents are notaries but not all notaries are certified loan signing agents. Signing agents are trained independent contractors who are hired by lenders and title companies to assist in the final stage of the mortgage process. The signing agent usually prints the loan package for the signer and follows any special instructions given by the lender or title company. 

Signing agents are trained to guide the borrower through the loan documents at a real estate closing. They briefly present each document and point out the terms of the agreement; however, they may not offer advice or an interpretation of its terms. They witness the signing, give oaths or affirmations when needed, and notarize certain documents in the package. They scan the signed file, email it back to title, and ship documents back via courier.

7.  Can a Virginia notary notarize a COPY of a birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate?

No, a Virginia notary may not execute what is called a "copy certification" of any record that is recorded in a public office. Only the clerk of the court or the county clerk where documents originate can certify this type of copy. Birth, death,  marriage, and divorce certificates are examples of publicly recorded documents. The Virginia notary cannot certify true copies of any court-issued document. Only the Virginia Department of Health can issue certified copies of these. 
Visit the Virginia Dept. of Health's Office of Vital Records for more information. 

8. What can a Virginia mobile notary charge for services? 

In 2024, a Virginia notary may not charge more than $5 per notarial act; however, as of July 1, 2024, the maximum will be increased to $10 per notarial act. The only other fee a Virginia notary may charge is for actual travel expenses if required to travel from home or office.  (Code of Virginia) 

9. What are some acceptable meeting locations other than our home?

Mobile notary at work

I have gladly met signers at the following locations to notarize their documents:
their home, office, coffee shop, restaurant, rehab facility, assisted living facility, hospital, bank, school, public library, title company office, realtor's office, and attorney's office. 

10. What should I do if the document that needs notarization has no notarial verbiage after my signature line?
Can it still be notarized? 

Yes. You may need to get a letter or a contract notarized, but there is no notarial block on the document, which would normally appear below your signature line and contain the notary's signature, identifying information, and seal. If you encounter this, you should ask the receiving agency (the attorney, the title company, or mortgage company) what type of notarization they need; is it an Acknowledgement or a Jurat? If you created the document, you may choose the notarial act yourself. An Acknowledgement affirms that the signer signed the document willingly; in the Jurat, the signer swears/affirms to the truthfulness of the document, and the signer takes an oath. 

11.   I'm moving to Spain and my new school requires that my high school transcript and diploma get the apostille seal at the Secretary of the Commonwealth.  Can you notarize my transcript and diploma?   

Yes, there are different ways that the notarization of the transcript and diploma can be notarized. The important thing is to know exactly what your new school requires. Once we know if it's an original or a copy that is required, we can go from there. We'd need to get an appointment at your high school registrar's office to get them notarized.  My recent article, Notarizing your Transcript or Diploma, provides an overview. 

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