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You might have heard the terms “notary public” and “notarize,” but what do they mean and when would you need one?
A notary public is an individual appointed by the state government to serve as an official and impartial third-party witness to the signatures of important documents, like wills and powers of attorney.
A notary public screens signers of these documents to make sure they are who they say they are, and not committing an act of fraud. Plus, a notary public makes sure the signer is not being forced to sign and that the signer knows all the details of the document they’re signing.
When you need to get a document notarized, you’ll have to find a provider — like a bank representative — who has been appointed by their state government to act as a ministerial official as a notary public. You’ll also need to prove your identity with a valid form of identification. Sometimes, a notary will even require the participants to sign the necessary documents under oath, under penalty of perjury.
Documents that typically require notarization are often of the major life-event variety: wills, powers of attorney, deeds, contracts, and affidavits, to name a few. Requirements vary by state.
Many places in the U.S. — including banks like Citizens Bank — offer notarization services. Other options might include the UPS Store, public libraries, AAA branches, and many colleges and universities. Call ahead to make an appointment before stopping by any of these locations.
Need the services of a notary public? Visit your nearest Citizens Bank branch.
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