While notary fees generally don’t make people jump out of bed in the morning, they are vital to the certification and authentication of crucial documents, such as loan papers and wills. Notaries are impartial witnesses when you sign important documents, ensuring their legal validity and preventing fraud. While notary fees are typically necessary, there are ways to minimize their impact. Notary fees are set at the state level, meaning a notary could charge any fee (or none) up to the maximum allowed in that state fee schedule. You may want to check with your financial advisor about what you’ll pay before starting the estate planning process.
What Is a Notary?
A notary, also known as a notary public, is a person authorized by the state government to certify and authenticate documents and signatures. The primary role of a notary is to act as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents, such as contracts, affidavits, deeds, wills and powers of attorney.
Notaries verify the identity of the signatories and ensure that all parties are willingly and knowingly entering into an agreement. They also ensure that the document is legally valid and enforceable. As a result, notaries reduce fraud and facilitate honest deals.
Notaries are also responsible for administering oaths and affirmations, which may be required when someone makes a sworn statement or an affidavit. In addition, they can attest that a copy of a document is a true and accurate reproduction of the original.
Once a notary has witnessed the signing of a document, they typically affix their official seal or stamp and provide their signature, indicating that they have performed their duties as a notary. This seal and signature serve as evidence of the proper execution of the document and authentication of the identities of the involved parties. Therefore, notaries play a crucial role in maintaining the public’s confidence in the authenticity and reliability of critical legal transactions.
When are Notary Public Fees Applicable?
Notary public fees are typically applicable in the following situations:
- Notarizing Documents: When a notary public performs the task of notarizing documents, they are entitled to charge a fee for their services. This fee may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of document.
- Traveling Notary: If a notary public must travel to a specific location to perform notarial acts, they may charge additional fees for their time and travel expenses. This situation applies when a notary visits a client’s home, hospital or office for notarization purposes. In addition, they can charge for remote online notarizations (RONs).
- Acknowledgment: A signer who wants to record their willing signature of a document can get an acknowledgment from a notary. They can do so by showing identification to a notary and paying the related fee.
- Jurat or Affidavit: If a notary public administers an oath or affirmation for an affidavit or jurat, they may charge a fee for this service. This fee includes the notary’s time and effort in witnessing the signing and verifying the affiant’s identity.
Remember, notary fees can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific regulations in place. The state or country typically sets the fee structure, which is subject to change. Therefore, it’s recommended to check the local regulations or consult with a notary public to determine the applicable fees in your area.
2023 Notary Fees By State
Each state sets fee limits for notaries, who can charge up to the maximum. They can also perform their services for free. The following chart breaks down different notary service charges by state:
|State||Acknowledgments||Jurats||Verbal Oath/Affirmation||Travel Fees (set by)||RON|
|Alaska||No fee schedule for all|
|Am. Samoa||$10 per signature||$10 per signature||$20 per signature||–||N/A|
|Arizona||$10||$10||$10||Dept. of Admin||$10|
|Arkansas||No fee schedule. Signer must agree to fees in advance||N/A|
|Connecticut||$5||$5||$5||$0.35 per mile||N/A|
|District of Columbia||$5||$5||$5||Signer must agree in advance||Not set|
|Georgia||$2||$2||$2||Signer must agree in advance||N/A|
|Guam||$10 for the first two signatures and $8 for each additional signature.||–||N/A|
|Indiana||$10 per signature||U.S. General Services Admin||$25|
|Iowa||No fee schedule|
|Kansas||No fee schedule||N/A|
|Kentucky||No fee schedule|
|Louisiana||No fee schedule||N/A|
|Maine||No fee schedule||N/A|
|Maryland||$6||$6||$6||IRS ($5 max)||$25|
|Massachusetts||No fee schedule||N/A|
|Michigan||$10||$10||$10||Signer must agree in advance||$10|
|Mississippi||$5||$5||$5||Signer must agree in advance||N/A|
|Missouri||$5||$5||$5||Signer must agree in advance||$5|
|Montana||$10||$10||$10||IRS||$10 per signature|
|Nebraska||$5||$2||$2||Dept. of Admin Services||$25|
|Nevada||$15||$15||$7.50||$15 to $30 per hour (signer must agree in advance)||$25|
|New Hampshire||$10||$10||$10||$0.20 per mile||$25|
|New Jersey||$2.50 or a flat fee of $15 for real estate transfers||N/A||Not set|
|New Mexico||$5||$5||$5||Not set||$25|
|North Dakota||$5||$5||$5||Not set||$5|
|Puerto Rico||Fees vary depending on the service|
|South Carolina||$5||$5||$5||Not set||N/A|
|Tennessee||No fee schedule except $25 for RON||$25|
|Texas||$6||$6||$6||–||$25 + regular notary fee|
|US Virgin Islands||$5||$5||$5||–||N/A|
|Utah||$10 fee per signature||–||$25|
|Vermont||No fee schedule|
How to Find a Notary
You can find a qualified notary public in your area through several avenues. For example, AAA, your bank, law firms and The UPS Store usually house at least one notary. In addition, tax preparers, auto tag and license service centers, photocopy shops, universities and libraries often have a notary.
However, if traveling to a notary isn’t possible, you can hire an independent notary to come to you. Mobile notaries advertise online, so an Internet search can help you find one. Specifically, you can use your state’s Notary Public database, Angi, Craiglist or Yelp.
Likewise, customers across the country can get documents notarized online through virtual notary services like Notarize, FedEx, NotaryCam and DocVerify. That being said, not every state allows remote notarizations, as outlined above in the fee chart.
Notary public fees cover the cost of certifying documents and signatures, ranging by document type and state. While the fees are unavoidable, there are ways to save money. You can find a notary at banks, law firms, UPS and online directories. To save money on notary costs, get multiple documents notarized together, ask for referrals and check with local government offices for lower-cost options. By exploring these avenues, you can reduce the financial burden of notary fees while ensuring proper certification of your documents.
Tips on Notary Costs
- Wills, mortgage loan papers and more require a notary’s services. However, understanding how these documents impact your financial situation can be challenging. Fortunately, a financial advisor can provide expertise on various financial tools and decisions to help you foster financial well-being and reach your goals. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Notary services are available online. Fortunately, so are many of the documents they authorize. For example, you can create a will online.
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