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How to Find A Notary Public to Notarize Documents

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Notary Public SignWhen I bought my house a few years ago, I was introduced to the idea of a notary public. In most capacities, a notary public is a “public official” given the right to administer oaths and affirmations. In many of the cases where you’ll need a notary public to “notarize” a document, they are there to affirm that the person signing the document is in fact the person who is supposed to be signing it. When you get a document notarized, you first provide proof of your identity, you sign the document in their presence, and then they sign and stamp the document, usually with a raised seal (depending on the state).

More recently, I had to get a notary to notarize my Pennsylvania claim form after I found some unclaimed property about a month ago (an old Best Buy rebate I think). It was a little trickier than when I still worked at a company, but eventually I found one. Now I’m going to write it down so I don’t make the same mistakes again!

Not A Notary: Medallion Guarantee

If you see the words “Medallion Guarantee,” stop looking for a notary public because they will not be able to provide it. A Medallion Guarantee is usually only available through a bank officer though the process is not much different than a notary. This is usually used for financial instruments, like bonds, and the bank is guaranteeing the person signing the document is who they say they are. Should the person forge a signature and the bank guarantees it, they are liable.

I had to get a medallion guarantee whenever I converted by paper Series I bonds into electric bonds. My recommendation is that you go to a bank you have an account with (call beforehand to ensure the person with the right to sign is available and present).

Where To Find A Notary Public

Now you know you need a notary, where should go? Notary publics are not free but what they can charge is limited by state law, usually a few dollars. That means the best option is the one that is easiest and most convenient, since price isn’t a differentiator (in Maryland, it’s $2 per notarial act).

Your Company

The cost of having someone certified to be a notary public is usually very small (in Maryland, you are certified for four years and it costs $20), so administrative assistants in many companies will be notaries. When I bought my house, I used a company notary to notarize the document. It’s, by far, the most convenient way to have a document notarized because you’re already at the office.

Your Bank

In the case of financial documents, banks often have notaries to notarize financial documents. If they are not financial documents, chances are your bank will refuse on the basis that their insurance doesn’t cover it (which makes sense). When I was looking for a notary, I tried calling my local Bank of America branch and they refused because it wasn’t a financial document.

UPS Store

This is probably the easiest way to get a document notarized because almost every UPS Store owner is a notary. To confirm, go to UPS Store’s store locator to find a store near you, and call to double check the listing is correct. The listing will show you the Products & Services they offer and Notary Services is usually listed under “Additional Products and Services” (the last section, in the third column), but double check to save yourself a trip. Also, find out when the notary will be there because they might have out sick or have stepped out.

Yourself

Actually, you can’t notarize documents on your behalf. I added this because with the low cost of certification, you might be tempted to become a notary public. At least in Maryland, it’s explicitely stated that “Notaries should refrain from performing any official acts for members of their immediate family or any acts where the notary is personally involved or may benefit from the outcome of the document.” It’s a simple conflict of interest issue.

So the next time you need a notary public, check to see if someone in your company is a notary. If not, head over to a UPS store. I wouldn’t bother searching the web or doing anything else to find a notary because it’ll only cause you headaches. My first reaction was to hit up Google and I emailed three or four local notary publics, none of them replied. I walked into the UPS store and was done in five minutes.

(Photo: rachaelvoorhees)

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37 Responses to “How to Find A Notary Public to Notarize Documents”

  1. You can also have a notary travel to you. Sometimes it’s out of convenience or necessity but traveling or mobile notaries are available to meet you at a time and location that is convenient for you. Traveling is a service so there will be an extra charge.

    • Bobby says:

      Is there a way to notarize your own document in the sense as the way you can Copyright your own material? Example: You can mail something to yourself and not open the envelope when you receive it. That makes the work inside Copyrighted

  2. Lynn A. says:

    Actually I did find a Notary Public who WAS free but that was probably because we struck up one of those instant friendships when I had just moved to a new town and need documents notarized to sell my old home out of state. She was the town clerk in my new town in Vermont and the price couldn’t be beat! My experience with UPS Stores is they charge $5 to $10 per notarized document so if you have a real estate with a single addendum it could cost $20 … free is so much better so check your town or city offices for a Notary with a better price. (I’m retired and moved away from any company sites so that no longer applies to me)

  3. mylindaelliott says:

    In my state (Louisiana) we have notaries at car dealerships. They are also listed on the Secretary of State website by Parish and with phone numbers. I know I used to do notary work. :)

  4. Evan says:

    One place I’d add to your list would be Law Firms. Almost every firm has at least one Notary since certain documents need to be notarized (Attestation Clauses, Affidavits of service, etc.)

  5. eric says:

    Interesting…now I know my local UPS have notary services!

    But regarding the medallion guarantee, I didn’t have to that when I converted my bonds from paper to electronic. Does it vary by state?

  6. Jonathan S says:

    Our town’s library has a Notary Public. The bonus is that they provide notary services for free.

    The downside is that if you have a nosy librarian they know that much more about your business.

  7. Jackson says:

    I have an account at Chevy Chase Bank (in MD) and they notarized a non-financial document for me.

    Not sure if this is the case for all branches or if I was just lucky.

  8. mgessford says:

    I’ve always gone to my credit union for notary services. In my experience, they’ll notarize anything you ask them to, and the credit union doesn’t charge for the service. Tally another point for credit unions!

  9. zapeta says:

    I agree with checking the company you work at. We have several notaries at my workplace.

  10. lostAnnfound says:

    Timely for me, as I am looking for one right now. I used to have it done by someone in the office my father worked in, but since he retired a few years ago I don’t get in there. There’s a UPS store just a couple blocks away, so I’ll check there first.

  11. aua868s says:

    i usually drop by at the mayor’s office…they seem to have a notary for sure…

  12. Izalot says:

    Most every bank has a notary and from experience they don’t charge if you have an account there.

  13. Walt says:

    Bank of America won’t notarize that for you? That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I work for Wachovia and we notarize pretty much anything at no charge for our customers. I’ve personally notarized that PA Unclaimed Property (what feels like) a million times. The only things we can’t do are vehicle registration and birth certificates.

    • Jim says:

      They knew I was a customer but still said they couldn’t do it unless it was a “financial document.” I bet they’d do it if I walked into the branch but on the phone they were probably looking to get rid of me and not take one extra work. :)

      • Ken says:

        I just left BOA and needed a document notarized. The notary wouldn’t do it. I went to TD bank and done. Called BOA 800 number and was told their new policy is to only notarize BOA documents. Great service huh?

    • michele says:

      Not anymore. Wachovia declined to notarize my court document today claiming, “We aren’t legal notaries”.

  14. LovePrepaid says:

    Check AAA. I’ve had documents done there. Member price is obviously lower than non-member price, but if you have a AAA office nearby, you can always check with them as well.

  15. CK says:

    Our bank and our credit union will notarize anything almost anything.

  16. Shirley says:

    We were able to have a notary meet us at a convalescent hospital to notarize my mother’s signature. Once we explained that she was crippled and blind, he met us there even though he is not a ‘mobile’ notary and he didn’t charge for that. But we tipped him nicely.. :-)

  17. glenn chin says:

    i didn’t know banks refuse notarization of non-financial documents. It has been a while, but my citibank branch notarized everything from pistol permit applications to state bar applications.

  18. Sarah in Alaska says:

    hmm. A Wells Fargo notary handled my marriage license application and a letter of reference for my BIL’s custody case. It was free, they didn’t ask if I had an account with them.

  19. Daniel says:

    It seems that some check cashing establishments (Amscot) also have notary services and are open 24 hours.

  20. Julie says:

    Go to notaryrotary.com or 123notary.com to find a traveling or office notary by you.

  21. nilesh says:

    Perfect,, Like this very much and really helpful indedd

  22. Julia says:

    I went to a UPS Store today in Nashville, TN and paid exactly $5 for the notary’s services. There were 3 employees working and 2 of them were certified notaries, so it seems they definitely make sure they have that service to office, which was great. It was quick, easy, and cheap.

  23. Natalie says:

    Very helpful thank you.

  24. Natalie says:

    As you mention it is worth double checking that the service is offered at the UPS location stated on the website as it wasn’t at the branch i visited, despite the website stating it was.

    Also TD Bank do it for free.

  25. Greg says:

    The local liquor store has a Notary on staff. They are open 365 days per year and nights and weekends! Very convenient!


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