What a Notary Can Do for You

By C. Alan Jennings

Using an experienced, commissioned Louisiana Notary Public can be an extremely cost-effective and wonderfully convenient alternative for legal document preparation and execution. The Louisiana Notary, a civil law notary, has broad powers usually reserved for attorneys in other states. A Notary can draft, prepare and execute affidavits, acknowledgments and authentic Acts.

Louisiana's Civil Law System provides for much of our legal documentation to be passed by a Notary, a public official who has qualified for a commission authorizing those powers. Non-attorney notaries must demonstrate a proficiency in legal matters within the scope of this broad power and authority by passing an examination administered by the courts. Licensed attorneys may be exempted from the exam. All notaries in Louisiana otherwise go through the same process to obtain a commission, and have the same powers.

In addition to the notarial powers held by attorneys who are appointed to the office of Notary, attorneys may render legal opinions and give legal advice and represent clients in court, which are things that a non-attorney notaries may not legally do. However, attorneys who are not commissioned as Notaries may not pass notarial acts. Many times, the attorney is acting in a dual capacity - giving legal advice and exercising notarial powers. If you do not need legal advice, a non-attorney notary is a good alternative and can save you money.

Much of the transactional work reserved strictly to attorneys in other states falls within the scope of the authority granted by an appointment to the office of Notary Public in Louisiana, and requires a significant level of professional expertise.

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.

Many Notary Publics provide "after-hour” and weekend services to accommodate your busy schedule. In addition, many notaries will provide their services in the comfort and convenience of YOUR home or office.