Notarizing Your Prenup
Notarization: What It Is and Why It Is Important To Your Prenuptial Agreement
If you are engaged (CONGRATS!) and planning to create your prenup, you may have heard of a little thing called getting your prenup “notarized.” What exactly does it mean? Why do you need to get a document notarized to make it official if you signed it?
As you prepare to get married and finish your prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand how and why you should have your signatures notarized. So what does it mean to get something “notarized?” Well, let’s get into the nitty gritty below!
What Is a Notary Public?
The National Notary Association defines a notary public as an individual appointed by the state to be an official witness to a variety of document signings usually when the documents carry significant consequences or weight such as with a contract or deed of sale. Notaries are commissioned and must usually carry insurance. A notaries job is to deter fraud and ensure that people are signing documents of their own free will. The Secretary of State in most states keeps a record of all active Notary Public’s so that the public can both find one when necessary.
What Does a Notary Do?
It is important that the authenticity of a legal document can be verified and trusted. A notary public is an appointed state official to help deter fraud and ensure the identity of signers. A notary public’s job is to witness the signing of documents and to verify the identity of those signers, the signers willingness to sign the documents at hand, and the signer’s awareness at the time of the transaction.
After witnessing the signing of a document, a notary applies their signature, official seal, and notary details. When a notary’s seal is present on a document, it means it has been verified that the signatures are authentic and that the document has been properly executed.
The notarization process usually involves three steps:
Presenting the notary with a valid form of identification
These forms of ID almost always have a photograph and are issued by a state or other government entity. Examples of valid ID include a passport, non-driver ID card or driver’s license. Some states may accept other forms of identification is valid so it is always important to review your particular state’s requirements.
Signing the documents you need notarized in front of the notary
Once you have established your identity you must then sign the document in front of the notary. The notary may make a photocopy of your ID and may take notes in a journal or logbook. This allows the notary to recall the signing of the document easily and have proof that the steps were followed if the validity of the document is ever challenged.
The notary will fix their seal and stamp to the document
The seal and the stamp serve as proof that the notary was indeed present and witnessed you sign the document. It also provides the name of the notary and when their notary license expires in case they ever need to be contacted about the document. By affixing their seal and stamp the notary is also affirming that they have followed all the prescribed steps necessary to ensure the document is legitimate when signed.
What Types of Documents Require Notarization?
Many documents may not require notarization by state statute, but should be notarized- like, your prenuptial agreement. Some states even require notarization of your prenup agreement by statute.
There are generally three types of documents that should be notarized- acknowledgments, jurats, and certified copies. Acknowledgments can be defined generally as documents that control or transfer ownership of property. Specific examples of acknowledgments include deeds or powers of attorney. A prenuptial agreement could be considered an acknowledgement.
Jurats are those documents most commonly used in either civil or criminal court. Examples include affidavits or deposition transcripts.
Certified copies are exactly what they sound like copies of documents that a person certifies are complete and represent the original. These need to be notarized to help give them legitimacy and to help ensure that they are in fact complete representations of the documents at issue. Certified copies are often made the same time as an original document and are kept in case the original is ever lost or destroyed.
Why You Need to Get Your Prenuptial Agreement Notarized
Generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement is going to be classified as an acknowledgment. However, it is important to note that if prenuptial agreement is ever challenged affidavits attesting to its authenticity or to the fact that something was not right in its drafting are going to be considered jurats. Getting your prenuptial agreement notarized at the time signed can help to avoid costly court battles if the document is ever needed or called into question.
E-notarization and remote notarization: What You Need to Know
Getting documents notarized is very inconvenient. Finding a notary and scheduling time to go in person can be time consuming and frustrating. Happily, there is now online notarization!
Remote can be referred to as the future of the notarization process. Most states have adopted some form of the e-notarization or remote notarization, though it is important to note the rules vary by state.
As the name implies, remote notarization does not require a person to appear before the notary in person but is usually accomplished by using some sort of audio video communication such as zoom. Whether or not you can get a document notarized remotely it is up to the individual state where you are signing.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic approximately 25 states had authorized some form of remote notarization, usually by allowing the process to happen via live video. However due to the Covid 19 pandemic many other states have signed emergency orders allowing remote notarization to temporarily take the place of in person notary services. However, as the Covid 19 pandemic winds down, it is important to ensure that any emergency measures in your state are still in place. Many states have chosen to allow remote notarization permanently.
Notarize.com is an example of a Notary company that has eliminated the hassle tied to having to find an in-person notary. Instead, Notarize.com is exactly what it sounds like – the platform allows you to connect with a notary online, and offers convenient and flexible options. And, the best part? You will save a *lot* of time. Using Notarize.com takes about fifteen minutes. Now, get back to planning your wedding!