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Signed and Sealed: Notary Services


With electronic documents and e-signatures, you can complete many important documents with the tap of your finger. Still some things, like wills, car titles, and mortgage loans, require an extra layer of security to ensure the signer is who they say they are. That’s where a notary comes in. 

What Does a Notary Do?

A notary public, often just called a notary, receives a commission from the state and must follow a very specific set of rules to verify an individual’s identity and oversee the execution of documents. These procedures are designed to prevent fraud and illegal activity. They include:

  • Personal appearance of the signer
  • Verification of the signer’s identity 
  • Verifying the document is complete
  • Witnessing the signature 
  • Completing the notarial certificate

A notarial seal (or stamp) certifies the signature on the document. It’s important to remember that a notary cannot certify that the contents of a document are true or accurate—only who signed it. 

In addition to verifying the signature on a document, notaries must ensure that the signer understands and acknowledges what will happen as the result of signing the document. For example, before notarizing a car title for a seller, the notary will have the seller attest that they have verified all the information on the title is correct. This requires the notary to be able to communicate with the signer in a language they both understand.

What Do I Need to Have a Document Notarized? 

Since a notary’s job is to witness your signature, you must have a complete but unsigned copy of your document. The document also must have an area for the notary to acknowledge your signature. If you’ve received a document from a lawyer, financial institution, or government office, this is most likely located directly below the line for your signature. 

Your notary will also need to verify your identity. Be sure you have a valid form of identification with you. This could include: 

  • Driver’s License 
  • Passport 
  • Government-Issued Photo Identification Card 

If your ID has passed its expiration date, you’ll need to renew it before the notary can accept it. 

Where Can I Find a Notary? 

Most credit unions and banks have notaries on staff. Many libraries or shipping stores, like Fed Ex or UPS, also have notaries available. OUCU has notaries at each of our branches. 

How Much Does a Notary Cost? 

In Ohio, notaries can charge up to $5.00 for each notarial act. However, most financial institutions will notarize documents for their customers at no cost, so check there first. At OUCU, notary services are available to members at no cost. 

Here For You

At OUCU, we want to help you take care of life’s big and small moments. Whether it’s paying bills or signing off on those important documents, we’ve got the technology and the people to make it happen. Find out all the ways we can be there for you on our website or contact us to let us know how we can help. 


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