Notarizing documents isn’t something many of us do on a regular basis. And if it’s your first time having to notarize an important file, the process can be a bit intimidating. Thus, to make things much easier for you, we’ll be answering your most frequently asked questions and discussing 10 important things you must know to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of notarizing documents here in San Antonio, Texas.
What Documents Can I Have Notarized?
Notarization or notarizing documents is an official procedure for verifying the authenticity of a person’s signature, stamping legal or notarial seals on important documents to certify their validity. These documents include but are not limited to the following:
- Education certificates
- Marriage certificate including divorce certificate
- Authorization letter
- Power of Attorney
Who Needs a Document Notarized?
Anyone who has prepared legal or other official documentation that they want to be authenticated by another party, usually at an embassy, consulate, courthouse, etc., may need notary services and authentication before submitting their paperwork overseas.
International students or those planning to study abroad may also need to request the notarization of their documents for visa and university application purposes.
Why Notarize Your documents?
For Compliance and Verification Purposes.
For most schools, companies, and legal procedures, requiring notarized documents is a foolproof way to verify the identity and authenticity of the person and the content and meaning behind the document. Thus, you’ll probably find yourself having to notarize your official documents in any sorts of circumstances such as when you’re applying for a job, transferring schools outside of San Antonio Texas, or even if you’re just traveling to another country.
For International Recognition.
Speaking of traveling to another country, notarizing your important documents is one of the simplest ways for them to be recognized by another government agency abroad. Without notarization, you might end up having to undergo the long and complicated process of having your documents officially translated or reviewed by embassy staff which can be both time-consuming and costly.
To Establish Your Documents’ Validity.
When notarizing documents, a notary public, who may be an attorney or any person authorized by law to administer oaths and take acknowledgments will review and verify how legitimate the document is, especially with regard to the dates and signatures. This way, you can rest assured that everything on your documents is correct and error-free and that the document itself is recognized as valid.
To Protect Them Against Fraud, Forgery, and Other Illegal Activity.
For some cases, notarizing a document is completely voluntary. If you acknowledge that your documents are essential to your business or personal affairs, notarizing them would be your best and most convenient form of protection against fraud or other unlawful acts as these documents will now be officially recognized by the law, with your signature and other intricate details you’ve set.
How Much Do Notarizing Documents Cost in San Antonio?
To give you an idea or a rough estimate of how much notarizing documents will cost, Texas law requires a maximum fee worth $6 for the first declaration or acknowledgment and oaths, and an extra not exceeding $1 for every signature added.
Nonetheless, the overall cost for notarizing your documents may still vary according to different factors such as the type and length of the document, as well as the urgency of its authentication. The best way to determine how much you’ll need is to call or get in touch with us directly and discuss your best possible options.
What Do I Prepare When Notarizing Documents?
Now that you pretty much have an idea of the basics or the nitty-gritty of notarizing documents, it’s time to get into the actual process. And of course, we’ll start with the things you need to prepare beforehand.
Your Valid IDs.
We’ll need to verify your signature and identity first before we can proceed with reviewing the entire document. Thus, to make the process quicker and smoother, it’d be best to bring at least two valid IDs such as your driver’s license, passport, or any government-issued identification card.
This one’s pretty obvious but in case you need a reminder or you’re just not quite sure, you must bring all the relevant documents you’d want us to review and authenticate. To save time and make the process more efficient, you may also refrain from bringing additional files that aren’t completely related or significant to the notarization of your documents.
Digital Version of the Documents.
Also, if at all possible, try to submit a digital version of your document or take/scan a photo before arriving for convenience purposes. Digital submission is preferred because it saves our staff members time to re-type information into their system.
Where to Notarize My Documents in San Antonio?
If you’re residing in San Antonio and you’re still clueless about where you can notarize your documents, look no further! For on-site notary service, you can simply walk into our physical office which is open from Mondays to Saturdays. We also offer other services you may need aside from notarizing documents. Once you’re there, you’ll be asked to fill out a form and show all the necessary files.
What Happens After I Submit My Form?
A staff member will review your form for completeness and accuracy. To avoid delays and make sure to provide us with all the complete and detailed information upfront.
How Long Does It Take to Notarize My Documents?
Notarizing documents with us won’t take much of your precious time. Although it highly depends on the number and type of documents we’ll process, most that won’t require additional paperwork such as affidavits can be completed within an hour.
Items such as Wills & Power of Attorney forms on the other hand may take up to two hours to process due to the administrative time needed when reviewing these complex documents with more stringent requirements for compliance purposes.
Meanwhile, for mobile services, turnaround times vary based upon location but typically range between thirty minutes and an hour depending on what’s being requested.
Does the Person Notarizing My Documents Have to be an Attorney?
Not really! It’s preferred but unnecessary for someone who signs off on your affidavit to have a law degree. Those with at least one year of experience working as a legal professional (i.e., a paralegal) can also be authorized by the law or court to work as a notary public and authenticate documents.
But then, if you’re still unsure about the legality of your document in your jurisdiction, we highly recommend having an attorney review it before proceeding with the documentation process.
Who Can Be My Witness?
A witness could be anyone over the age of 18 who does not stand to gain any personal benefit or loss by having their name associated with the said document and knows you well enough to confirm your identity. It’d also help if this person knows what you’re declaring before them to speed up the verification process.
Some Other Questions You Might Have
You’re pretty much good to go! But in case you’ll need them, here are the answers to some more questions that may be holding you back from notarizing your documents in San Antonio.
What If I Need to Have the Document Notarized in Another State?
The person who is executing your affidavit must be physically present at our office. In certain states like New York and Florida, some reputable services can act as an intermediary between you and someone else. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing in Texas at this moment.
What’s Different about Notarizing Documents in San Antonio, Texas?
Notaries that work in Texas have specific guidelines for accepting, verifying, and protecting your private information (i.e., social security number). Also, there are certain rules in our state when it comes to identifying the signer of an affidavit. These can’t be easily ignored or overlooked for their legality is based on the laws of our state.
Can I Email My Documents?
No, not in the traditional sense. However, you can submit your document electronically using services like eNotary, eFax, or LiveSign. You may also send us digital copies of your documents ahead of time through online fax.
What Other Documents Can I Have Notarized in San Antonio?
Apart from the ones mentioned above, these documents may also need notarization:
- Applications for Unemployment Benefits (Form 13-07)
- Civil Statutory Declarations (Form CSD-001)
- Consumer Credit Applications and Loan Modifications (Forms LOANMOD-MA or MRTPA)
- Death/Burial Affidavits
- Electronic Funds Transfers – Authorization for Payment of Money to Businesses (Form EFTSAPROC)
- Guardianship Documents (Forms G-101 or G-201)
- Joint Tenancy Agreement
- Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs (Form POA)
- Quit Claim Deeds
What Documents Can’t Be Notarized?
The following are examples of documents that should not be submitted for notarization under any circumstances because it’s either illegal or considered fraud to do so:
- Certified school transcripts, diplomas & degree certificates because this is against the law in Texas since a public official cannot authenticate them.
- Federal government forms (i.e., FBI Background Checks) must come directly from an authorized agency.
- Altered divorce decrees after being issued by court order.
- Criminal history reports or other personal information which is not in the public domain
Can a Notary Public Prepare or Assist in the Preparation of Any Documents?
No, they cannot be involved in the process of writing or preparing any documents on behalf of someone else for legal purposes. It is considered fraudulent or unethical behavior, leading to criminal charges if deemed necessary by Texas state law.
And you’re all set! All that’s left for you to do is to collate all your necessary documents and visit our office here in San Antonio. If you’ve still got concerns or questions left unanswered, feel free to contact us or drop by our office and have a chat with us!
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