Notarizations and Financial Interest

September 23, 2019 / Notary Association of America

Notary laws across the county contain certain prohibited acts when it comes to "conflicts of interest." The impetus behind these laws is merely to protect the general public. In performing your duties as a notary, it is very important that you do so with total impartiality. A notary must be a neutral party who acts as a preventive mechanism against someone who may attempt to defraud the signer of the document. When performing a notarial act, there can be no conflict of interest, including but not limited to being a party to the notarial transaction including financial gain. Though financial interest is not clearly defined in notarial law, simply stated, the notary cannot gain from the notarization at hand.

Owners of small businesses should never notarize documents for their own business. Even if a spouse works in the business and is a notary, they should never notarize on behalf of the business since they normally have a financial interest in the business or organization.

As a notary, you are prohibited from notarizing a document in which you have an interest to gain in any way. You must assure, to the best of your ability, that the transaction has been executed in a way that is correct and promotes the utmost integrity so that there is no room for future liability or legal action taking place.

Checking with your state notarial laws is your best guide to determining whether you have a financial interest in a notarization. If you are unsure or concerned whether you have an inappropriate interest, be it financial or material in any way, it is best to decline the notarization and seek out another notary public.

Finally, your goal as a notary should always be as a disinterested third-party who, if called upon to testify in a court of law about the notarial transaction, would be completely detached from all parties involved in the transaction so that you would be unbiased in your testimony.