A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government — typically by the Secretary of State — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts.
The foundation of the Notary's Public as a official representatives of the state, is in his or her impartiality. They are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation or status as a non-customer.
A false statement made to a Notary, under Oath, is Perjury; exactly the same as a false statement made under Oath in a Court of Law.
Some of the usual and customary notarial functions include:
- Administering Oaths and Affirmations.
- Taking Affidavits and Depositions.
- Receiving and certifying Acknowledgments or proof of such written instruments as Deeds, Mortgages, and Powers of Attorney.
- Demanding acceptance or payment of foreign inland Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes and Obligations in Writing, and protesting the same for nonpayment.
- Copy Certifications.
A notary public is not responsible for verifying truth or accuracy of the contents of a document. A notary does not make documents legal or official.
Unlike Notaries in foreign countries, a U.S. Notary Public is not an attorney, judge or high-ranking official.