If the fees are set by the State of Florida what are these additional fees charged? All notaries are only allowed to charge a maximum of $10.00 per notary action. ($20.00 solemnizing a marriage) As business owners, notaries incur business expenses such as travel and time. These fees are at the discretion of the notary and you should always call for a quote
May you notarize a signature without the person being present if another person swears that the person signed the document? No! We receive frequent inquiries about "notarizing a person's signature by subscribing witness." Some states, like California, do, in fact, allow such notarizations, but Florida does not.
May you refuse to provide notary services? Yes, under certain conditions. Florida law actually requires notaries to refuse in some situations. In other situations, I either should or may refuse to notarize.
As a notary, are you able to prepare legal documents for me? No as I am not an attorney.
Are you able to notarize a will that has NOT been prepared by an attorney and is instead a "self-proving" will? Yes, I am able to notarize a will, whether prepared by an attorney or not, provided the required conditions for a notarization are met. The document signer must be present and competent to execute the document. The signer must be able to produce appropriate identification. The document must have a jurat, ( where the signer is swearing to the content of the document) The notary must administer an oath or affirmation to the signer in order to complete the jurat. A jurat also requires that the signer signs in the presence of the notary or the document signer must request a jurat in advance.
Are you able to notarize a signature on a living will if there if there is no prepared notarial certificate on the document? Yes, let me know in advance and I will appropriate the notarial certificate determined by you or the principal (the person making the living will). I am not an attorney and cannot advise which certificate to use. The principal must make this determination. Florida law provides that a competent adult may make a living will directing the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event such person suffers from a terminal condition. A living will must be signed by the principal in the presence of two subscribing witnesses, one of whom is neither the spouse, nor a blood relative of the principal. Section 765.303, Florida Statutes, provides a suggested form of a living will. The document requires two witnesses but does not require notarization. However, if you wish a notary seal I will provide it for you.
Must a notary public actually sign the notarial certificate when notarizing a signature? Yes. When notarizing a signature I am required by law to date, sign, and affix my seal to a notarial certificate. See §§ 117.05(3)(a) and (4), Fla. Stat.
Are you able to notarize a signature on a document that has been prepared in another state, or on a document that will be sent to another state or country? Yes, but I need to indicate the correct venue (State of Florida, County of ____) where the notarization occurred and complete a proper notarial certificate with all the requirements of the Florida notary law. This may mean that I will have to revise the form, particularly it if was prepared under the laws of another state. Additions or corrections should be made by striking through any incorrect information and adding the correct information before completing the notarization. I will also initial any correction that I make.
If you have any other notary questions not covered here please consult with your attorney.
Debra Tocco, Notary Public Florida In Venice
I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.