How to check if a notary stamp is legal?

Written by khalidah tunkara
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Notary stamps will not have any benefit if the notary is not operating legitimately. There are a few ways to determine if the stamp on your documents are legal. There are many types of notary stamps, therefore it can be difficult to determine exactly what kind of stamp is being used and if it is legal. Even though there are various types of notary stamps, the actual notary stamper itself is required to be issued only to a certified notary. This guide will show you how to determine if a notary stamp is legal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Document to be notarised

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  1. 1

    Find a notary public. They can easily be found by searching at the American Society of Notaries. Most tax preparation companies also have a notary public available. Make sure the notary is authorised to notarise your documents by requesting to see the actual stamp imprint and the validity year. This will help ensure that the stamp used on the document is legal.

  2. 2

    Review the stamp imprint. Notaries are able to choose from many different types of stamps to use. Originally, all notary stamps were the same in that they resembled an embosser. When the two parts were pressed together an embossed mark would be produced on the document. This was commonly known as the notary seal. Now there are rubber stamps, which are either self-inking or require an ink pad. These types of stamps are common and are acceptable in the majority of businesses. Electronic stamps are also used for documents that are sent through e-mail. Electronic stamping is a viable option for many notaries, however it must be approved by the particular state in which the notary provides services.

  3. 3

    Look at the document once it has been stamped. It should clearly display the name of the notary, the commission number of the notary and the date when the commission expires. If any of this information is not present, you may want to question the legality of the stamp. All three items must be displayed on a legal notary stamp.

  4. 4

    Check clarity. Since there are different types of stamps, you need to make sure all information that is included in the stamp is legible. Rubber stamps will sometimes smudge, so it's important to make sure the stamp can be read clearly. There is usually no issue in regards to clarity when the stamp is embossed on the document.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to only sign your documents in the presence of the notary public. This will allow the notary to verify the authenticity of your signature using your legal picture ID such as a driver's license or government issued identification.
  • No notary is ever allowed to use a stamp that is not theirs. Take the extra minute to verify the name to make sure the stamp is legal.
  • The service of having a document notarised is a public service, but some places will charge a small fee. Banks usually notarise documents for free to account holders.

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