Personal Appearance Required

The document signer(s) MUST personally appear before the notary because there is no other way to confirm the identity of the signer and that he/she is signing freely and willingly.

A tenant cannot bring a letter from her landlord, nor can a husband bring a power of attorney from his wife, to be notarized. Likewise, an employee cannot have his girlfriend pick up a letter from his boss and bring it to the notary. A boss is not permitted to bring a document signed by a client to be notarized. Indeed, no one can have a document notarized except the person whose signature is on it.

One of the elements of the notary certificate, whether an acknowledgment or a jurat, is the signed and sealed statement of the notary that the signer did appear before him.

To sign a notary certificate that you know to be a lie is to commit a crime. Even if you are signing as an official witness instead of as a notary public, you must require the presence of the signer. After all, how can you witness someone signing or acknowledging if you don’t see them do it?

If you know of any notary who does not require the personal appearance of the signer, please report him to the proper authority for his jurisdiction, as he is breaking the law, defrauding the public, and helping to devalue the office of notary public.