A notary public certifies the execution of critical life-changing documents like property deeds, wills, and powers of attorney. They guarantee that signers display genuine identification and understand the obligations they will be taking on. The process for becoming a Notary varies from state to state. Some States require candidates to take a state exam.
Notaries are licensed to perform essential tasks, verify signatures, and ensure the authenticity of documents. Their work helps deter fraud, ensures that parties enter legal contracts willingly and knowingly, and protects consumers from identity theft. Notaries may be appointed by a court or state government, or a regulating body often known as a society or faculty of notaries public. Lawyer notaries are commissioned for life, while lay notaries are typically commissioned for a briefer term that can be renewed.
If you’re curious about how to become a notary in Texas, you must pass the examination, complete an application, and file it with your county clerk alongside the required fee. You must also complete an Oath of Office and have someone who knows you well sign a statement vouching for your good character and honesty. You can find more information on becoming a notary by visiting the Department of State’s website. A thorough list of resources and frequently asked questions is also available on the website.
To become a Notary Public, you must meet all your state’s requirements. Generally, you must pass a background check and pay for insurance, known as errors and omissions (E&O). The cost can vary by provider. You must also take a training course or pass the state exam. State-approved education vendors offer training courses that may be in-person or online. Costs for training vary by vendor. Once you have met the basic requirements, you must submit a completed application to the department. You must also pay the required fee and pass the notary examination ($15 fee). The exam is not required of attorneys who are members in good standing of the State Bar or Unified Court System court clerks who were appointed to that role following a civil service promotional examination. Before beginning your duties as a Notary Public, you must receive a commission from the county clerk. Your commission is valid for a four-year term. You must apply to the county clerk for renewal when your term expires.
Notaries certify the proper execution of many life-changing documents that allow our civil society to function. As such, Notaries must be able to spot fraud and verify the authenticity of every document they notarize. They must also be impartial and refuse to discriminate against a person because of race, nationality, religion, politics, or sexual orientation. Notary applicants are required to take an approved notary public study course and pass the exam. They must also apply, including an oath of office that must be notarized. Licensed attorneys and court clerks of the Unified Court System are exempt from this step. All Notaries must purchase a four-year notary errors and omissions insurance policy, which can be bought when you complete your notary application. It is in addition to the $60 fee for your commission, which is submitted to the Secretary of State along with your application and oath of office.
The exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions about notarial duties and State law. Once a candidate passes the exam, they receive a “pass slip” and must submit it along with their application, fee, and oath of office to the Secretary of State. Once the Secretary of State approves their application, the notary will be commissioned for four years. Notaries are expected to know all laws about their work, including laws related to administering oaths and affirmations, taking acknowledgments, executing jurats for affidavits and other verifications, witnessing or attesting signatures, and more. As a result, potential notaries need to review their state’s laws and regulations before applying to become one. In addition, notaries must be of sound mind to sign documents.