What is a Notary Public?

Notary Public

 

A Notary Public (or “Notary”) is a person who provides legal services for the public. These services are administering oaths, taking affidavits, and certifying documents as true copies.

What is the taking of an affidavit?

An affidavit is a written statement that is sworn to by the person making the statement. The person making the statement is called the “affiant”. Affidavits are often used in court proceedings as evidence. They may also be required when someone wants to sign the ownership of a vehicle over to another person. The Notary serves to change what is simply a signed piece of paper into a sworn statement. To do this, the Notary has the affiant swear that what is said in the document is true, and then has the affiant sign it. The Notary will then sign the document as a witness.

It should be noted that the affiant must sign the affidavit in the presence of the Notary. The affiant cannot sign the affidavit before or after meeting with the Notary. Even if it seems more convenient to sign at a different time, do not sign an affidavit unless you are in the presence of a Notary.

A Notary is not allowed to witness or commission their own affidavit

Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths

Another title that is associated with affidavits is a “Commissioner of Oaths”. A Commissioner of Oaths, like a notary public london ontario, is able to take affidavits. However, it is a mistake to think that the two are the same. The Notary has more capabilities than the Commissioner of Oaths.

Certifying Copies

A Notary Public is also given the authority to certify that signatures, marks, and copies of documents are true copies of the originals. A Commissioner of Oaths, on the other hand, does not have this capability.

A “true copy” or “certified copy” of a document is a document that a Notary has stamped, which indicates that the document is truly a copy of the original document. This does not mean that a forged signature or other fraudulent document suddenly becomes authentic with the Notary’s seal of approval. A Notary cannot turn a copy of a fraudulent document into a true copy, and only an authentic copy can become a true or certified copy. The seal indicates that the document is a copy of what appears (to the Notary) to be an original document.

Typical examples of documents that require certification as true copies are birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports.

What else should I bring to my appointment?

You should bring Government-issued photo identification with you to your appointment with the Notary. Some documents require multiple pieces of photo I.D. for the Notary to confirm your identity. Make sure you thoroughly review the documents you are bringing in to determine anything else that is required specifically for those document to be commissioned.

Lawyers as Notary Publics

Any practising lawyer in Ontario is a Commissioner of Oaths simply by virtue of their position as a lawyer. Not every lawyer, however, is automatically a Notary Public. A person must apply to become a Notary Public, and not every application will be successful. It should not be assumed that any lawyer is a Notary Public. Knowing what services you require and whether the lawyer you are approaching is able to provide those services is essential.

Lakin Afolabi Law employs several Notary Publics. They are authorized to commission affidavits and certify copies of documents as true copies. If you require the services of a Notary Public, call Lakin Afolabi Law to set up an appointment today.

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