What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a person of proven integrity, appointed and commissioned by
State government as a public officer whose function is to perform notarial acts as an
impartial witness, verifying that a person is who he or she claims to be, and that the
person is in the presence of the notary. Notaries will complete acknowledgments and/or
affidavits and administer oaths, especially when handling property titles, grants,
deeds and any power of attorney.
A notary is considered a "public official" and, as such, is held personally liable for
any fraud or negligence in the performance of the duties of the office and is also,
therefore, subject to legal prosecution. A notary is not licensed to practice law and
may not, under any circumstances, give legal advice. Unless the notary is a practicing
attorney within the state in which commissioned, offering any legal advice of any kind
is deemed the unlawful practice of law. Acts that constitute the practice of law are
the preparation, drafting, selection or determination of any legal document, or giving
advice with relation to any legal documents or matters. The notary should decline any
such tasks requested and should refer the individual to an attorney.