If you're reading this article, the chances are you have a rough idea of what a notary public is (don't worry if not!) But what are they for? And why should you use one?
To help shine some much-needed light on the situation, I've compiled a list of the top ten reasons why you should use a notary public. Whilst there are plenty more reasons to use one, the following ten are the most common in my experience.
- You have been told to see one - This may seem the most obvious but is usually for a very good reason. Many countries, companies and government bodies around the world will accept documents from overseas that have been notarised. We don’t use notaries as often here as elsewhere, but it does offer an internationally recognised certification/verification to your documents.
- You have a power of attorney to empower someone or a company to act on your behalf - This can cover a wide range of scenarios from buying property to selling a car. It could also be to contact a specific company or for representation in litigation. There are almost endless possibilities here, but you will need to have your identity verified and signature witnessed, as well as making sure it is executed as a deed.
- You need proof of life to claim a pension, for example - For many that have worked overseas, or have pensions in other countries, the pension provider will ask (usually annually) to have you sign a document that you are still alive and able to claim your pension. Sometimes these need to be notarised. For those returning each year, I do offer discounts on subsequent visits.
- You need your documents verified - This can be for many different documents and for many different reasons. It could be a DBS check for a visa application, a degree certificate for a new teaching job, or company documents. All will be checked by your notary. Sometimes there are additional disbursements but that depends on the type(s) of documents you have.
- You need your identity verified - This is similar to the two above but relates specifically to your identity documents. Often people will need to prove who they are to different companies. If you are moving to Australia or New Zealand as a doctor or nurse, you need to prove your identity as part of the application process. You may need to update your KYC documents for your bank or obtain information. Again, this may cover lots of different possibilities, and while your notary will always identity you, they may also need to evidence this.
- You have an ID1 form - This is a very specific type of evidence of identity verification. This is specifically for the Land Registry in the UK. You may need to complete and ID1 or ID2 form as part of a conveyancing transaction or to update the deeds to a property. This would require a meeting – either in person or by video call (an ID5 would be used in that instance), where the notary (or one of the other professionals listed) would check your identity document and endorse your photograph.
- You are getting married abroad - Depending on where you have chosen to have your destination wedding, you may be required to sign a declaration or an affidavit to evidence that you are free to marry.
- Complete service - Your notary may offer complete services, including arranging legalisation for you. Quite often, your document may need an apostille attached or further legalisation as the relevant embassy. Some notaries (myself included) will provide you with options should you wish to have one person handle everything for you.
- Stress relief - This follows on from the above. You may find that you are nearing the end of a lengthy process and the final action needs notarisation. Your notary will provide you with a reassuring service and an understanding of your circumstances. Some will deal with the legalisation too and sending the documents to the recipients for you.
- Knowledgeable - Your notary will know how to complete your documents and how to verify them. I personally will check with the receiver if they are happy to receive a document as I propose to send it or question documents and situations where necessary. As you can imagine, the laws across the globe all differ, but we are taught how to manage the conflict of laws.
Now that you've read this list, do you think you need the support of a notary public? Perhaps one based in Liverpool or Wirral? If so, please get in touch.