You’ve probably come across the term “notarization” by now, and it’s no surprise—it’s a crucial element in the prenup process! Without it, there’s a potential risk of your prenup being invalidated, depending on your state. Regardless, when you choose HelloPrenup for your prenup, notarization is a mandatory step. Why? It adds an excellent extra layer of protection to your agreement! Plus, it’s a breeze and even a bit enjoyable. You get to connect with a virtual notary, making the signing of your prenup feel like a formal celebration… almost like you’re part of the Royal family. Okay, jokes aside, let’s jump into all the details you need to know about notarizing your prenup.
What is notarization?
Notarization is a formal process designed to prevent fraud in the signing of important documents (including prenups). Notarization provides verification that parties signing off on a document are who they say they are.
The process is carried out by a Notary Public, who is an appointed public official. The role of the Notary Public is pivotal in making sure the signature on a document is authentic and that the signer acted willingly, free from any form of coercion.
Why does a prenup need to be notarized?
Some states formally require notarization for a prenup to be considered valid. In other words, if you don’t get your prenup notarized, you don’t have a prenup at all! That’s right, you could do all of the right steps, and spend all that money on a prenup, but if you don’t get it notarized, your prenup could be thrown out.
The idea behind requiring prenups to be notarized stems from the notion of fraud. Some state legislators have imposed a requirement for notarization on prenups to avoid fraud. For example, making it more difficult for people to forge their spouse’s signature and/or coerce their partner to sign.
We spoke with renowned Beverly Hills Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Raymond Hekmat, who explained, “A prenup is required to be notarized to ensure that the couple signing the agreement are actually parties to the agreement. This avoids anyone contesting the agreement in the future by saying that they never signed it in the first place and that their signature was forged.”
What is E-notarization (i.e., remote notarization)?
We live in the digital age, and you no longer need to trek to the post office or bank to get your prenup notarized. That’s right, you can get your documents notarized from the comfort of your own home. Online notarization is all the rage these days because you quite literally can get it done in minutes.
The process is super simple, too! You simply verify your identity with the Notary Public and sign your prenup right in front of the notary while on a virtual call. They will verify and counter-sign with their official stamp, Notary Public registration number, and signature. Voila! You have a notarized document!
To make it simple, we broke down the notarization process for you, step-by-step:
- Step 1: Finalize your prenup with HelloPrenup
- Step 2: Prepare your identification documents
- Step 3: Verify your identification online
- Step 4: Virtually connect with an online prenup notary
- Step 5: Sign your prenup
- Step 6: Wait for the prenup notary to sign and stamp their part
- Step 7: Download your signed agreement and save three copies
How does the process of signing my prenup work with in-person notarization?
If you want to go old school and get your prenup notarized in person, that is still an option, too. This requires printing out your prenup and taking it to a live notary. This may be at a bank, post office, or other location that has Notary Publics available. The process is relatively the same as e-notarization, except in person. You simply verify your identity with an ID and sign the documents in front of the Notary Public. They counter-sign with their signature and stamp, and bam! You’ve got yourself a notarized agreement.
How does notarization work with witnesses?
Some states require witnesses to a prenup, including but not limited to Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota. That means you and your partner must have one or two witnesses “witness” the signing of the prenup, also in front of the notary. The requirements for witnesses vary by state. For example, Minnesota says there must be two witnesses (See Minn. Stat. § 519.11). In Georgia, there must be two witnesses, but one of the witnesses must be a Notary Public (See Ga. Code § 19-3-62). So, how does it work? You will literally bring your witness(es) to the notary session to sign the prenup with you.
What happens if I don’t get my prenup notarized?
If you don’t get your prenup notarized, you run the risk of getting it thrown out by a court, especially in states that require notarization as a prerequisite to a valid prenup. The result of getting your prenup thrown out is having the state default laws apply to your divorce instead of the rules you made in your prenup. In other words, if you wanted to keep certain property separate from your spouse with your prenup, that may not be the case with the default laws of your state… it could be unfavorable to your financial situation. So, the bottom line is it’s important to dot the i’s and cross the t’s with notarization to keep your prenup effective in case things don’t work out.
How much does it cost to get my prenup notarized?
It’s not scary, we promise! Getting your agreement notarized with online prenup notaries is extremely wallet-friendly and efficient. In fact, we’ve made it so easy for you that you never have to leave the HelloPrenup platform or your home. That’s right, you can get your prenup notarized in a few simple clicks after finalizing your agreement with HelloPrenup for just $50.
If you decide you want to go the old-fashioned route and you want to get your prenup notarized in person, you’re looking at up to $30-$120 per notarization, depending on where you go. For example, mobile prenup notaries are fairly expensive (they hover around the $100 mark, depending on your location). Whereas there are some cheaper, in-person options, such as at shipping service companies, that hover around the $30 to $50 mark.
Where to save your e-notarized prenup
Once all is said and done… where do you save your signed and notarized document? Well, first, make sure you save at least three notarized copies. Print them off after they’ve been online notarized, and make sure to keep them somewhere safe. Typically, we recommend the following:
- Have your partner keep one copy in a location of their choosing
- One copy for you, in a location of your choosing, and
- One copy in a joint location.
The actual location should be somewhere you feel is safe and secure, such as a lockbox, secure filing cabinet, etc.
It is also recommended to keep a digital copy somewhere. This may be on your computer, in your cloud storage, an electronic storage company (i.e., Google Drive, DropBox, etc.), and/or an external USB.
The bottom line
The importance of notarization in the prenup process cannot be overstated, as it plays an important role in making sure the agreement is valid. Without notarization, you run the risk of having your prenup thrown out, especially in states where it is a prerequisite for validity. At HelloPrenup, we prioritize notarization as an additional layer of protection for your prenup, making it a seamless and even (dare we say) enjoyable process. Happy signing!
More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about getting a prenup notarized
We rounded up some of our most frequently asked questions about notarization and answered them below for you.
Q: Is remote notarization legal?
A: Yes, every state now recognizes and permits remote online notarization.
Q: Does HelloPrenup offer notary services?
A: Yes! You can get your prenup legally notarized within the HelloPrenup platform without ever leaving your house.
Q: How much does getting a prenup notarized cost?
A: HelloPrenup offers notarization at just $50, allowing you to officially finalize your prenup without ever leaving your home! This streamlined and user-friendly notarization process can be completed with just a few clicks right after you’ve wrapped up your prenup on our platform.
Q: Is it possible to have my prenup notarized in a state other than where I reside? (Example: I live in California, and my prenup’s applicable law is California, but I’m currently on business in Illinois. Can I get my prenup notarized in Illinois while I’m here?)
A: Yes, you can notarize your prenup out-of-state.
Q: If I am having an out-of-state notary notarize my prenup, but my prenup’s notary page says a different state, does that matter?
A: Yes, your state notarization signature block should match the state of the notary you are using.
Q: Is it necessary for the notary to notarize every individual page where my signature is required?
A: No, there is a single notary block where the notary will sign on your prenup. The notary will verify all of the signatures you sign on the prenup in the single session, and they will sign off and stamp (whether virtually or in-person) only on the notary signature block page.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]