You’ve just signed a deal to make an addition to your house, and you’re feeling great. All the financing lined up correctly, construction begins next week, and you had a notary public witness your signing the contract. So, if any questions pertaining to the authenticity of the signatures arise in the future, you are covered.
Oh, you’re telling me you didn’t have the signatures notarized, and the alleged seller didn’t actually have the authority to bind the construction company to the work? And he’s skipped town with your money?
Having a notary public witness a signature is a powerful tool to prevent fraud and identity theft. In legal proceedings, a notarized signature confirms for the courts that the person whose signature appears on the document is, in fact, the person who signed the official paper – or in the case of the seller, that he actually could authorize the construction to begin.
A notary public’s power in Ohio is vested in R.C. 147.07, which allows them to administer oaths, take and certify depositions, acknowledgements of deeds, mortgages, liens, powers of attorney, and other instruments of writing. A common occurrence where you may need a notary’s presence is when title to a car is transferred.
In essence, a notary’s signature or stamp testifies that he or she witnessed something. To that end, a notary cannot attest to witnessing a signature unless the signer signs the document in their presence. Ohio requires that the parties show identification to prove who they are. They must also ascertain that the parties are signing the document voluntarily and not under duress. This is especially important when a senior citizen or someone with limited English skills is involved.
All of this adds up to a huge strategic advantage in litigation should something go wrong with the contract that you signed.
The cost is minimal and spelled out in R.C. 147.08 – 10 cents for each one hundred words of a document (which equates to about 20 cents per page, double spaced) and $2.00 for transfer of title (such as auto title). Most notaries will waive this fee since it is so minimal, or provide it as a complementary service. It’s cheap insurance against future problems…. there’s lots of places you can skimp on, but don’t make this one of them.
As a licensed attorney in Ohio, I have a notary commission and am offering these services to you as needed. All fees for notary work, if not waived, is donated to Feed the Creek. If you are in need of a notary, feel free to contact me at any time.