What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a public officer appointed and commissioned by the Governor whose function is to administer oaths; to take acknowledgments of deeds and other instruments; to attest to or certify photocopies of certain documents; and to perform other duties specified by law. A notary public serves as an impartial witness to facilitate the workings of commerce and law by lending credibility to certain sensitive signed documents. When a document is notarized, the public can be assured that its signer is not an impostor and any contracting parties can be assured that the document they have signed - and no other - will have full force and effect.
Setting The Standard for Notarial Law in the United States
The Model Notary Act is a comprehensive statute prototype designed to modernize the Notary Public office. The original Uniform Notary Act of 1973 was created in a special collaboration with Yale Law School. Over the years, drafters of the Act have included Secretaries of State, law professors, experts in digital technology, mortgage banking executives and governmental officials at every level.
For nearly four decades, legislators and Notary-regulating officials have borrowed extensively from the Model Act in reforming state and territorial Notary laws. More than 40 states and territories have adopted provisions of the Model Notary Act in one or more of its past three versions.
The updated and expanded Model Notary Act of 2010 features provisions for electronic and paper-based processes to modernize and enhance the Notary office. Due to an Illinois Appellate Court ruling of December 2008, Vancura v. Katris, the Model Notary Act has taken on a new significance in American jurisprudence. The Court cited the Act as a “common law” standard which Notaries should rely on for guidance in instances where state law provides no direction.