While it’s not common in bankruptcy cases, there are occasions when a filer may be required to submit a document with a notarized signature. When a signature is notarized, the notary public has confirmed the identity of the person signing the document and made sure that the person is signing the document voluntarily.
If you have to sign a document and have the signature notarized, your first step is to find a notary public. If you don’t happen to have one on speed dial, don’t worry. There are several ways to find a notary public:
- Your bank or credit union: Most banks/credit unions provide complementary notary services to their customers. Contact your local branch to find out whether yours does and how to schedule an appointment.
- Your local library: Some libraries offer notary services to their patrons, either for a small fee or completely free of charge.
- Your local FedEx/UPS store: Offerings may vary, but many shipping stores like FedEx, UPS and the like offer low-cost notary services in their stores.
- Search for notaries in your area online: If you go this route, make sure you verify that the person you’re choosing is in fact a notary in your state.
Things you should know:
- The notary public has to watch you sign the document. Don’t sign it beforehand!
- You’ll need a valid picture ID for the notary to check your identity.
- Most states limit the maximum amount a notary public can charge for signatures - typically to around $10.
- Online notarization is allowed in some states, but even that is a pretty new development. If you need something notarized for your bankruptcy case, don’t count on an online notary to be sufficient. Save yourself the time and trouble and visit an in person notary instead.
- Friends / family are allowed to notarize your signature! There is no requirement that you can’t know the person who is notarizing your signature.