What Are the Authorized Duties of a Notary in Missouri?

A Missouri notary is a person of proven integrity appointed by the Missouri Secretary of State to serve the public as an impartial witness who takes acknowledgements, administers oaths and affirmations, and performs other acts authorized by law.

Perform your notary duties according to Missouri notary law

A Missouri notary should perform his or her duties only within the bounds of the law as stated in the Missouri notary statute and administrative rules. If you wish to become a Missouri notary, it is vital to familiarize yourself with these authorized duties to avoid exceeding the scope of your notarial authority and incurring penalties or liabilities.

Under Missouri law section 486.640, there are four duties a Missouri notary is authorized to perform with statewide jurisdiction listed below.

Authorized notary duties in Missouri:

Taking Acknowledgments or Proofs of Written Instruments

Taking an acknowledgment is one of the most common notarial acts. In an acknowledgment, the signer, whose identity has been verified, declares to a Missouri notary that he or she has willingly signed the document.

The following steps are required when taking an acknowledgment: 

  • The signer must physically appear before the notary or, in case of online notarization, must appear by interactive two-way audio and video communication.
  • The notary must positively identify the signer.
  • The signer may either sign the document in the notary’s presence or prior to appearing before the notary.
  • The signer must acknowledge signing the document for its intended purpose.

Signature Witnessing

Missouri law has recognized “signature witnessing” as a separate and distinct notarial act. Occasionally, someone will bring a document to you to witness him or her sign the document. If the document is signed, you must have the person sign the document again in your presence. It is not necessary for the signer to cross out the first signature; he or she should just sign again as close to the original signature as possible. .

Administering Oaths and Affirmations

Affidavits need to be verified by oath or by solemn affirmation. An oath is a solemn statement pledging to God or a higher power, while an affirmation is a pledge made on a person's own honor and does not mention a deity.

When administering an oath or affirmation, make sure the individual swears or affirms the truthfulness of his or her statement. The individual must appear before the notary, either physically or online by interactive two-way audio and video communication.

This notarial act involves a bodily act in which the oath taker raises his or her right hand in a pledging gesture. Alternatively, an oath taker may place a hand over his or her heart.

Certifying Copies

Missouri notaries are allowed to certify copies of original documents as true copies. The duty of a notary in this instance is to personally make a photocopy of an original unaltered document and certify that the copy is a true copy. A Missouri notary CANNOT certify a copy of a public record or a publicly recorded document. That is, a Missouri notary cannot certify a copy of an original if certified copies can be requested from a government agency or other institution that issues certified copies of official documents. For example, a notary can never certify copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce records, school transcripts, tax returns, deeds, mortgages, or any other document that is in government custody or that has been recorded in the public records.

A Missouri notary can perform these four authorized duties through both in person notarizations and online notarizations. 

Prohibited notarial acts in Missouri:

  • Issuing an identification card
  • Helping to prepare legal documents
  • Advertising as a “notario publico”
  • Assisting with immigration matters
  • Giving legal advice or accepting fees for legal advice if not licensed to practice law in Missouri
  • Signing documents using a name other than the name in which they were commissioned

The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals in Missouri become notaries since 1994. We are a one-stop-shop for all your notary needs. Click here to learn how to become a notary in Missouri.

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

Missouri notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, the American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company (established 1900). Kal Tabbara is a licensed insurance agent in Missouri.