Over four million people in the United States (over 400,000 in Texas alone!) are notaries public. A common impression among most people is that a Texas notary is just someone who “witnesses” or “verifies” signatures. However, a Texas notary’s duties are a lot more complicated than that. Here is a more complete description:
A Texas notary is a person of proven integrity appointed by the State of Texas to serve the public as an impartial witness in taking acknowledgments, administering oaths and affirmations, and performing other acts authorized by law.
Before being recognized as public officials of the State of Texas, notaries must take an oath in which they swear to support, protect, and defend the constitutions of Texas and the United States
Notaries play an essential role in the functioning of our legal and commercial systems. They hold a position of trust. The public relies upon notaries to ensure integrity in the execution and signing of business, personal, and legal documents. Properly notarized documents can help bind agreements, prevent disputes, and protect against fraud. However, it is important for notaries to keep in mind that notarization does not guarantee the legal sufficiency, authenticity, or truthfulness of a document’s content. Notarization only guarantees that:
- the signer has been positively identified by the Texas notary;
- the signer has personally appeared before the Texas notary to sign the document willingly, without any coercion, and for the purpose stated on the document; and
- the Texas notary performed the notarial act on the date stated on the notarial certificate.