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Notarized Documents: Do they expire, can be scanned or refused [+more]? 


A notary is a self-employed holder of a public office in the field of preventive administration of justice who is qualified to hold judicial office and is publicly appointed by the judicial administration to perform acts of voluntary jurisdiction, such as public certification, public authentication of signatures, protests of bills of exchange, and so on.

He is not, however, a state official. Instead, he acts in his own name and on his own or his office's behalf. The fact that he is appointed by a public institution ensures his competence to carry out his or her duties with integrity. 

Documents that need to be notarized

Notarization is usually necessary when an independent person needs to confirm the truthfulness and identification of the other person. Legal documents in particular are often affected by this.

documents that need to be notarized

Other notarized powers of attorney aren't always required. Nonetheless, involving a notary can often be beneficial in ensuring that the power of attorney is accepted without restriction by the authorities concerned. However, if you have any doubts, you should always contact the appropriate authority. They'll be able to tell you whether or not notarization is required in your situation. Some examples of documents which usually need a notarization are:

  • (Simple) testimonies
  • Real estate transactions
  • (Living) wills and health care proxies
  • Donations

Can a notary refuse to notarize a document?

There are just a few exceptions to the norm when documents cannot be notarized. It is vital to note, however, that signatures can only be certified if they are executed or acknowledged in the presence of the notary. The only method to show that the signature belongs to the individual making the declaration is to do so. You must affirm that the executed signature is yours if the paper has already been signed. Other reasons why he can refuse to notarize a document are:

  • The notary is related to the other person
  • Uncertainty about the true identity
  • Uncertainty about the mental state
  • Purposes that are unlawful

Does a notarized document expire?

A certification does not have an expiration date and does not have to be used by a specific date. As a result, certified copies of original papers do not, in theory, expire. However, there are times when a certified copy is no longer appropriate.

This is particularly true if your personal status documents have altered. If paternity is disputed or established, or if the person marries or divorces after the certified copy is issued, the certified copy's declaration no longer matches to reality.

Can a notary notarize their own documents?

Since a notary must maintain his neutrality and independence, he may not notarize his own documents. If he still wants to have his papers verified, he must look for another notary.

In addition, he is not allowed to make any certifications from which he would have a profit of his own. Therefore, he is also prohibited from performing his work for relatives.

However, an exception may exist depending on the document type and state. A notary journal entry is one of the few exceptions, where here is allowed to authenticate it by himself.

Can i scan and email a notarized document ?

This depends on the purpose for which it is to be scanned and sent by mail. In some cases the copy is quite sufficient, while for confidential matters the original must be available. It should also be considered, which one of these cases are present:

  • Acknowledgement
  • jurat

The latter confirms that the content of a document is genuine and the person is telling the truth about it. In this case, a copy via mail is more often accepted. But even here there are exceptions, which must be decided in each individual case.

The Acknowledgement, on the other hand, certifies the identity of a person and that he or she has signed the document voluntarily. Such documents are usually not accepted as a copy and must be presented in the original.

Can a notary notarize a document from another country?

The decisive factor here is the location and the legal requirements of the country of which the certification is to take place. Furthermore, the consular officer of the state in which the document is to be used, confirms the authenticity of a foreign document through legalization. Legalization is not required reciprocally for documents from several jurisdictions due to international conventions, or the "Hague Apostille" is used instead.

Can a notary notarize a document from another country

The Hague Apostille, like the legalization, is a proof of a document's authenticity. It is, however, issued by a designated authority of the state that issued the document, unlike legalization. The involvement of consular officials from the country where the document will be utilized is no longer required. The signature's legitimacy is thus validated by the domestic competent authority in the nation where it was signed.

Document date vs Notary date  

A question that also frequently arises relates to the context when the document date and notary date are different. Especially when the former is antedated. Does the notarization then still apply?

The short answer is yes. The document can be signed on a different date and still be presented to the notary afterwards. This is for two reasons. One is that contracts, for example, can have several different dates. But more importantly, the notary can identify the rightful person and confirm that they voluntarily signed the document. The date of the document is usually irrelevant here.

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This website's content does not represent legal advice, and it is not meant to do so. Instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. This website's information may not be the most up-to-date legal or other information available.

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