Notaries need to know the laws and rules in our respective states in order to avoid making mistakes as we deal with the public. We also need to know relevant federal laws and regulations as they relate to things such as privacy, marketing, real estate, and other matters.
Unfortunately, some of the questions that are asked by notaries in online groups and forums reveal an appalling lack of education as to the most basic issues of notary practices.
For example, hardly a week goes by without some notary on Facebook asking if they can accept this (non-standard thing) as an i.d. for notary purposes. Here is my answer to that question.
Can I Accept This as an I.D. for Notary Purposes?
What do the notary law and handbook in your state say about acceptable forms of i.d.? What does the Secretary of State and/or the Attorney General for your state say?
If nothing, use scholar.google.com to research court cases in your state to see if any address the issue.
If none of those help, call the NNA’s Helpline (if you are a member of the NNA) or consult a general notary reference such as those mentioned on my page called Education for Notaries.
Those are general rules of thumb for any basic notary questions, such as this.
If you don’t have time to reach the SOS or AG (and you don’t know your state law and you don’t have a copy of your state’s handbook — as you should on both), refer them to the nearest Legal Services Corporation affiliated office or to the local Bar Association for possible pro bono assistance.
Then go get copies of your state’s notary handbook and your state’s notary law and print them out to put in your notary bag. (Google your state +notary law or +notary handbook to find them.) And study them until you know everything they say inside and out.
Just be aware that potential clients may be members of those same online notary groups that you are, and, even if they aren’t, your competitors are.
If you hope to get hired to provide any type of notary public services, you should avoid posting questions online that reveal that you don’t know basic notary practices for your state. You may be shooting yourself in the foot by those types of posts.
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