NOTARY PUBLIC – STATE AT LARGE
– Answers to Common Questions –
What are the qualifications for a notary public?
A notary public must be eighteen (18) years of age, a resident of the county from which she/he makes application or be principally employed in the county from which he/she makes the application, of good moral character and capable of discharging the duties imposed upon her/him by law.
For what period of time is a notary issued?
A notary public’s term of office is for four years.
What is the fee for becoming a notary?
The fee is $10.00 Applicants should send the fee along with their application to the Secretary of State’s Office, 148 Capitol Building, 700 Capitol Avenue, PO Box 821, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. Make checks payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.
What happens after you send in the application and fee?
If the Secretary of State approves your application and makes the appointment, the certificate of appointment will be sent to the county court clerk of the applicant’s residence or the county from which he/she makes application. asindicated on the application. At the same time this is sent, a letter notifying you of your appointment will be sent to your home address. Within (30) days of receiving your letter, you must go the county clerk’s office and :
— (1) take the oath of office,
— (2) post bond,
— (3) file and record your appointment.
What happens if you forget to take the oath and file the bond within the 30-day period?
If you fail to take the oath of office and post bond within the 30-day filing period or a reasonable time thereafter, your office becomes vacant. If you still wish to be appointed a notary, you will have to send another completed application and pay another $10 fee to the Secretary of State.
What are the bond requirements?
Bond requirements vary in each county. Please contact your county clerk for specific information.
What is the procedure for cancellation of a notary bond?
This situation is not specifically addressed in the statutes but suggested courses of action could include:
— (1) The surety could contact the notary stating that they no longer wish to serve as surety and ask the notary to voluntarily obtain another surety. A subsequent posting and recording of the bond at the county clerk would then be required.
— (2) If the notary does not voluntarily obtain another surety, the surety could petition the district court to issue an order removing the surety from the notary’s bond. This order of removal could then be filed with the county clerk.
If there has been a name change since the issuance of the notary certificate, what name should be used?
The name as it appears on your certificate should be used. You may put your new name in parenthesis if you would like.
What is a notary authorized to do?
A notary public can administer oaths and take proof of execution and acknowledgments of instruments.
What does acknowledge mean?
An acknowledgment is a verification that the person whose signature appears on the document is the person who appears before you and whose identity you took reasonable steps to verify.
Can I acknowledge a signature that was placed on the document before it was brought to me for notarization?
Yes. You must verify that the signature on the document matches the signature on the identification which the signer presented to you and to the signature of the signer in your journal.
What is a jurat?
A jurat is a signature made under oath. In this instance, you must watch the signer sign the document.
What is the difference between a jurat and an acknowledgment?
A jurat authenticates a signature made under oath or affirmation. A jurat proves that the signer personally appeared before the notary; the signer was positively identified by the notary; the notary placed the signer under oath; and the notary watched the signature being made.
In a jurat, the notary does have to see the signer sign the document and the notary must place the signer under oath before the signer signs the document.
An acknowledgment authenticates a signature. An acknowledgment proves that the signer personally appeared before a notary; the notary identified the signer; and the signature on the document matches the signature on the identification which the signer presented to you and to the signature in your journal.
For an acknowledgment the notary only has to verify the signature on the document is that of the signer. The notary does not have to watch the signature be made.
How does a notary acknowledge a document?
A notary first identifies the signer to be the person whose name is signed to the document. The identification can be made through personal knowledge or through appropriate credentials such as a driver’s license. The notary completes the certificate of acknowledgment by writing or typing on the document the appropriate “acknowledged before me” phrase and signing her or his name and commission expiration date underneath. Documents will often have the acknowledgment phrase pre-printed on them, in which case the notary merely fills in the blanks.
What types of oaths is a Kentucky notary authorized to administer?
The Kentucky notary public is empowered to administer most types of oath. These fall into two categories:
— (1) oaths of office
— (2) oaths of testimony
State law sets forth the form of the oath of office for most public officials. Some oaths of office must be administered by a specific official other than a notary. If you are uncertain, ask for legal advice.
The oath of testimony is used to swear a person to the truthfulness of her/his statement (written or oral).
The oath is familiar: “Do you solemnly swear to tell (or write) the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” or “Do you swear or affirm to tell (or write) the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” Depositions, affidavits, hearings and government documents are common occasions for the use of the oath of testimony.
Can I notarize something for myself?
No. Though self-notarization is not specifically prohibited by statute, the practice would defeat the entire purpose of a certificate of acknowledgment, which is to obtain independent, reliable confirmation of the act of signing a document.
Can I notarize documents for my family?
There is no specific prohibition against notarizing for a family member. You should probably avoid the practice, however, to avoid any possible challenges based upon allegation of bias, conflict of interest or other impropriety.
Can I notarize a document in which I have financial interest ?
Again, this is not specifically prohibited, but is definitely a bad practice. By notarizing a document in which you have a financial interest, you are simply increasing the chances of that document — and the underlying transaction — might be challenged. Therefore, the practice should be avoided.
Can a Notary Public State at Large commissioned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky perform notarial acts anywhere in the United States?
No. Notarial acts must be performed within the state’s borders except when the notary has received a special commission. (See page 7.)
Is the use of a seal necessary?
Kentucky notary statutes, Kentucky Revised Statutes 423.010 – 423.990, do not require the notary to use a seal. Notarizations in Kentucky are regularly performed without a stamp or seal. However, if you wish to obtain a seal of office, it should contain your name and notary public title such as “Notary Public – State at Large” or “Notary Public – Special Commission.”
It should be noted that some states require a seal or stamp; therefore, if you are notarizing a deed or other document which is to be recorded or used out of state there is a possibility a seal or stamp is required.
Is a notary record or journal required to be kept?
Although many states require this by law, this is not the case in Kentucky. However, it is advisable to keep a record book of your official acts because a journal provides documentation of the notary’s personal knowledge of performance of the notarization.
What physical characteristics should a journal have?
The journal should be bound with prenumbered pages to deter unauthorized removal of pages. There should be entry space to record all pertinent information. The journal should be completed before the notarization.
What information should be recorded in your journal?
- The document signer’s signature
- Date and time of the notarization
- Date of the document
- Type of notarization performed and type of document notarized
- Document signer’s address
- Statement on how the notary verified the signer’s identity
- The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act
- Special comments about the transaction
What features of an I.D. or papers should a notary examine when verifying identification?
A notary should examine the I.D. for three features:
- A photo of the bearer
- Accurate physical description of the bearer
- Signature of the bearer
Can fees be charged for notarizations?
Yes, the fees of notaries public for the following services must not be more than the following schedule:
KRS 64.300 Notaries public.
— (1) The fees of notaries public for the following services shall be not more than set out in the following schedule:
Every attestation, protestation, or taking acknowledgment of any instrument of writing, and certifying the same underseal including, but not limited to, the notarization of votes of absentee voters.
Recording same in book to be kept for that purpose
Each notice of protest
Administering oath and certificate thereof
— (2) No fee or compensation shall be allowed or paid for affixing the jurat of a notary public to any application, affidavit, certificate or other paper necessary to be filed in support of any claim for the benefits of federal legislation for any person or his dependents who has served as a member of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States.
History through 1968: Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 1746.
Can a notary be liable for notarial misconduct?
A notary is liable for all damages sustained as a result of the notary’s errors, omissions, neglect, improper performance of duty or misconduct in performing a duty. The notary is not only liable for civil damages as a result of misconduct, but is also liable to criminal prosecution if he or she signs a false or fraudulent certificate.
Can the date of a notarization be different from the actual date the notarization was made?
No, the date of the notarization should always be the date the notarization was made which is the day the signer actually appeared in person for the notarial act. Notarizations should not be backdated.
If the notary is signing a certificate of acknowledgment, the document’s date of signing does not have to match the certificate date. The document could have been signed several months earlier.
If the notary is signing a jurat, the document’s date must always be the same date of the date of the notarization, since the affiant must always sign the document in the notary’s presence.