A notary stamp being used to seal a legal document

How to Use a Notary Stamp for Legal Documents

When it comes to important legal documents, notarization is often required to ensure their validity. A notary public is a key figure in this process, responsible for verifying the identity of signers and ensuring the document is complete and accurate. One essential tool used by notaries is the notary stamp, which serves as proof that the document has been notarized. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at how to use a notary stamp for legal documents.

Understanding the Role of a Notary Public

Before we dive into the specifics of notary stamps, it’s important to understand the role of a notary public. A notary is a public official appointed by the state government and authorized to witness and certify documents. Their duty is to prevent fraudulent activity and ensure that documents are executed properly. Notaries play a vital role in legal proceedings, including real estate transactions, financial agreements, and more.

Notaries have been around for centuries, with the first recorded use of notaries dating back to ancient Rome. The role of a notary has evolved over time, but their importance in legal proceedings has remained constant. Notaries are often called upon to witness and certify important legal documents, such as wills, deeds, and powers of attorney. Without notarization, these documents may not hold up in court.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Notary Public

The duties and responsibilities of a notary public are extensive and include verifying the signer’s identity, administering oaths or affirmations, and witnessing the signing of legal documents. They are also responsible for ensuring the legality and authenticity of the document in question.

Notaries must be impartial and unbiased when performing their duties. They cannot offer legal advice or provide any type of guidance on the contents of the document. Their role is simply to witness the signing of the document and ensure that it is executed properly.

Importance of Notarization in Legal Documents

Notarization serves as proof of authenticity and helps prevent fraud or forgery. Without notarization, important legal documents may not be considered valid, leading to potential legal disputes.

Notarization also provides an extra layer of protection for all parties involved in a legal transaction. By having a notary witness the signing of the document, it ensures that all parties understand the terms of the agreement and are aware of the consequences of their actions.

Overall, the role of a notary public is crucial in ensuring the legality and authenticity of important legal documents. Without notarization, legal disputes and fraud could run rampant. So the next time you need an important document certified, make sure to seek out the services of a qualified notary public.

Types of Notary Stamps and Seals

Notary stamps and seals are essential tools for notaries public. They are used to authenticate and certify the validity of legal documents, such as deeds, wills, and contracts. Notary stamps and seals come in various types and styles, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the three most common types of notary stamps and seals.

Traditional Rubber Stamps

Traditional rubber stamps are the most common type of notary stamp. They require the use of an ink pad and are available in various sizes and styles. They are a budget-friendly option and have been used by notaries for many years. Traditional rubber stamps are easy to use and produce a clear, crisp impression every time. They are also customizable, allowing notaries to add their name, commission number, and other relevant information to the stamp.

One of the drawbacks of traditional rubber stamps is that they can be messy. The ink pad can become dry or over-inked, which can result in smudged or blurry impressions. Notaries also need to be careful when handling the stamp to avoid getting ink on their hands or clothes.

Self-Inking Stamps

Self-inking stamps are becoming increasingly popular among notaries as they offer a quick and convenient way to apply the notary seal. They contain an ink pad within the stamp and can be easily re-inked when needed. Self-inking stamps are available in a variety of sizes and styles, and they can be customized to include the notary’s name, commission number, and other relevant information.

Self-inking stamps are a great choice for notaries who need to stamp multiple documents quickly. They produce a clean, consistent impression every time, and the built-in ink pad eliminates the need for a separate ink pad. However, self-inking stamps can be more expensive than traditional rubber stamps, and they may not be as customizable.

Embossing Seals

Embossing seals are a classic option that create a raised impression on the document. They require no ink and are a great choice if you want a traditional and elegant look. Embossing seals are available in various sizes and styles, and they can be customized to include the notary’s name, commission number, and other relevant information.

One of the benefits of embossing seals is that they cannot be easily copied or duplicated. The raised impression is unique to the seal, making it difficult for others to forge or tamper with the document. However, embossing seals can be more expensive than traditional rubber stamps or self-inking stamps, and they may not be suitable for all types of documents.

When choosing a notary stamp or seal, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Each type of stamp or seal has its own unique features and benefits, and the right choice will depend on factors such as the type of documents you will be notarizing, your budget, and your personal style.

Acquiring Your Notary Stamp

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of notary stamps, it’s essential to know how to acquire one for yourself.

Notary Commission Requirements

The first step in acquiring a notary stamp is to understand the notary commission requirements in your state. Every state has different requirements, including education, testing, and background checks. For example, in California, you must be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of the state, and able to read and write in English. You must also complete a six-hour notary education course and pass a state-administered exam. In addition, you must undergo a background check and obtain a bond.

Once you have met the requirements, you can begin the process of acquiring your notary stamp. It’s important to note that notary commissions are typically valid for four years, after which you must renew your commission.

Choosing the Right Notary Stamp

Choosing the right notary stamp is essential to ensure that it meets all legal requirements. When selecting a notary stamp, consider factors such as size, style, and the information that needs to be included on the stamp, such as your name and commission expiration date. It’s important to choose a stamp that is legible and meets the specific requirements of your state.

There are several types of notary stamps to choose from, including pre-inked stamps, self-inking stamps, and traditional rubber stamps. Pre-inked stamps are the most popular type of notary stamp because they provide a clear, crisp impression and are easy to use. Self-inking stamps are also popular because they are convenient and require no separate ink pad. Traditional rubber stamps require a separate ink pad, but they are durable and long-lasting.

Ordering Your Notary Stamp

After selecting the right notary stamp, the next step is to order it. Many online retailers offer notary stamps at competitive prices, and it’s important to choose a reputable supplier to ensure the quality of the stamp. When ordering your notary stamp, be sure to double-check all information, including your name and commission expiration date, to ensure that it is correct.

It’s also important to note that notary stamps are subject to state regulations, and some states require specific information to be included on the stamp. For example, in California, notary stamps must include the notary’s name, the words “Notary Public,” the county where the notary is commissioned, and the commission expiration date.

Once you have received your notary stamp, be sure to keep it in a safe and secure location. Notary stamps are the property of the notary and should not be used by anyone else. It’s also important to keep your notary stamp up-to-date by renewing your commission before it expires.

Properly Notarizing Legal Documents

Now that you have your notary stamp, you’re ready to start notarizing legal documents. Let’s take a closer look at the process.

Verifying the Identity of the Signer

One of the primary responsibilities of a notary public is to verify the identity of the signer. This can be done through the use of government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. The notary should carefully review the identification and ensure that the name and photo on the ID match the signer.

It’s important to note that the signer must be present at the time of notarization. Notaries cannot notarize a signature that was made in their absence.

If the signer does not have a government-issued ID, the notary can use credible witnesses to verify their identity. The witnesses must have personal knowledge of the signer and present their own identification to the notary.

Ensuring the Document is Complete and Accurate

Before notarizing the document, the notary should review it to ensure that it is complete and accurate. This includes checking that all required signatures and dates are included, and that no essential information is missing.

It’s important to note that notaries cannot provide legal advice or determine the accuracy of the information in the document. They can only ensure that the document is complete and that the signer understands what they are signing.

Recording the Notarization in Your Notary Journal

Once the document is notarized, the notary should record the notarization in their notary journal. This is a crucial step as it provides a record of the notarization and can be used to track any potential legal issues.

The notary journal should include the date and time of the notarization, the type of document notarized, the name and address of the signer, and any other relevant information. Notaries should keep their journal in a secure location and only allow authorized persons to access it.

It’s important to note that notaries should not notarize a document if they have a financial or personal interest in the transaction. This can be seen as a conflict of interest and can lead to legal issues.

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, notaries can ensure that legal documents are properly notarized and that the integrity of the notarial process is maintained.


Notarization is an important part of legal proceedings, and notary stamps play a vital role in the process. By understanding the types of notary stamps available and the process of acquiring and using them, you can ensure that your legal documents are notarized accurately and validly.

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