What to Consider in Choosing a Notary

Open up the phone book and there’s bound to be a Notary Public down the street. But wait before you dial! Convenience is surely one factor to consider, but you wouldn’t trust your document to just anyone, right? Customer service, professionalism and expertise should top your list.

Customer Service

You should be "right at home" with your Notary Public and feel comfortable asking any question about the meaning of terminology or language in your document. You should also be provided upfront with applicable fees for the services you need. Your Notary should not make you feel rushed or have a “just sign here” mentality.

You should leave the Notary's office with a clear understanding of your document’s purpose and meaning. If the Notary was unable to execute your document or otherwise assist you, they should give you a clear explanation of why and suggested steps to take. Some Notaries are also attorneys and may give legal advice and represent clients in court; things that a non-attorney notaries may not legally do.

There may be times when you need mobile services. Many Notaries provide after-hours and weekend calls. In addition, there are times when it may better suit your needs to have the services performed in the comfort or convenience of your own home or office. Many Notaries can accommodate such requests. Inquire about any travel or after-hours fees and provide the Notary with as much background information as possible when setting your appointment so that you receive the most effective and efficient service. Also, many documents require witnesses, in which case you should be prepared to provide the appropriate number of witnesses. Because of this, be sure to discuss the need for witness with your Notary.

Members of the Louisiana Notary Association take pride in the services they provide and in helping to educate their clients. Many of them also provide mobile services to meet the specific needs of their clients.

Specialization

Choosing a Notary Public is a lot like choosing any other professional advisor. You not only want that person to be knowledgeable about the basic laws and requirements necessary to execute your needed document, but you also benefit from the Notary understanding your individual circumstances, so you leave with what you need.

Depending upon the type of work you need done -- purchasing a house or a car, crafting your last will and testament or forming an LLC or corporation-- finding a Notary that is skilled in these areas should be a primary concern. Don’t be shy in asking about a Notary’s experience or knowledge in executing such documents. While all Notaries are tested prior to receiving their commission, experience or advanced training in dealing with the nuances of certain procedures produces the best results.

Avoid Notaries who insist on using boilerplate forms to execute more involved documents. A professional Notary will ask questions about your situation to determine whether or what customized language is necessary in your document. Your answers will also help determine the best solution or course of action. Always be truthful with your Notary to ensure the finished document will be considered valid.

You will find many members of the Louisiana Notary Association have completed advanced training in specialized areas of notarial law.

Ethics

A Notary Public’s signature authenticates the content of the document as being your intentions. Never ask a Notary to “fudge” or skirt standards, such as notarizing a document that has been signed by someone not present, notarizing a document that is incomplete or contains “blanks”, or notarizing a document with information you know to be false. Doing so could not only jeopardize the Notary’s commission, but could also render the document invalid and leave you completely unprotected. By the same token, it’s best to AVOID a Notary who is willing to notarize such documents to save time or make money.

The Louisiana Notary Association upholds the highest level of professionalism and standards for its members.

Look for a Member of the Louisiana Notary Association!

Notaries, whether non-attorney or attorney, must maintain a strong personal commitment to staying up-to-date on the ever-changing laws affecting notarial acts in order to remain proficient in their duty as public officials of the State of Louisiana. Members of the Louisiana Notary Association have a network of resources available to them to maintain that special proficiency through publications and programs of continuing education on the legal matters concerning notarial acts and related laws. LNA Member Notaries have the advantage of hours of specialized training in all areas of the law, keeping up to date with the various changes that affect their work. Look for the Louisiana Notary Association Emblem – A sure sign of a knowledgeable and competent Notary Public.