The Missouri Secretary of State appoints individuals of proven integrity to serve as Missouri notaries public for four-year terms. Notaries, including mobile notaries and notary signing agents, perform a critical public role in Missouri by serving as impartial witnesses to a variety of transactions and by confirming the identity of signers. In so doing, Missouri notaries public help to deter fraud. There are several times in your life when you might end up asking, “How do I find a notary near me?”
Services a Missouri Notary Provides
You will need to locate a notary near you in Missouri whenever you need to secure one of the following four common notarial services:
1. Having your acknowledgement taken.
This is perhaps the most common notarial service offered by a Missouri notary public. In an acknowledgment, you, after appearing physically before a notary and having your identity verified by him or her, declare that you have willingly signed a document. The document may have been signed prior to appearing.
2. Having your signature witnessed.
You may need to locate a Missouri notary so he or she can witness you sign a document in the notary’s presence.
3. Having an oath or affirmation administered to you.
When you take an oath or affirmation, you either “swear” (in an oath) or “affirm” (in an affirmation) to the truthfulness of a document. An oath typically involves invoking a deity, while an affirmation does not.
4. Obtaining a certified copy of a document.
In some cases, a Missouri notary may be able to certify a copy of a document for you. In this case, the notary will personally photocopy your original document for you and then certify that it is a true copy. However, Missouri notaries cannot certify copies of original documents if such copies can be requested from a government agency or other institution. So, for example, a notary could not certify a copy of a birth certificate, death certificate, university transcripts, divorce decree, or court order. In these cases, the originals are kept on file with the government agency or other institution, and so the notary cannot make and certify a copy of the original.
Types of Missouri Notaries You Might Need
Before choosing a notary in Missouri from a notary locator, first determine which type of notary you need:
1. A stationary notary public.
If you have the means to travel to a notary, you can often find one at financial institution such as your bank or by searching for a nearby notary in a notary locator. A stationary notary will not travel to you, but you can travel to him or her to have your documents notarized at his or her place of business. If cost is an issue, it is best to travel to the notary to avoid any travel fees. Notaries at a financial institution where you have an account may also waive the notary fee.
2. A mobile notary public.
If you want a notary to come to your place of business or home to notarize your documents, you will need a mobile notary public. A mobile notary is often the most convenient choice but be aware that a mobile notary public may charge a fee for travel in addition to the fee charged to notarize a signature.
3. A notary signing agent.
Are you selling, buying, or refinancing a house? Do you need other complicated loan documents notarized? In that case, you will want to use a notary locator to seek a notary signing agent. Missouri notary signing agents are specifically trained to handle complex loan documents. Title companies and lenders often hire notary signing agents to assist with the last steps in a loan process.
4. A notary who is also an attorney.
Unless they are also attorneys, Missouri notaries are prohibited by law from offering legal advice or assisting in immigration matters. Therefore, if you need such assistance in addition to a notarization, you will want to find a notary who is also an attorney. If, for example, you need to have a will or a power of attorney notarized, you might want to find a notary who is licensed to practice law.
What to Ask a Notary Before You Employ a Notary
There are six important questions the American Association of Notaries (AAN) advises you to ask before hiring a notary to provide you with notarial services:
1. What are the notary’s fees?
Be sure to discuss and agree upon any fee prior to having your documents notarized. This is especially important when you are hiring a Missouri mobile notary public, who may charge you an additional fee to travel to your location. Notaries are required to separate their notarial fees from travel fees and must provide customers with a detailed invoice. Your total notarial fees will depend on the number of signers, witnesses, and the number of documents or pages to be notarized. Click here to learn the maximum allowable fees a notary in Missouri can charge.
2. How long has the notary been commissioned in the state of Missouri?
Notary commission terms in Missouri are for four years beginning from the date of commission, but a commission may be renewed regularly. You’ll want to know how experienced your notary is.
3. Is the notary’s commission currently active?
A notary with an expired commission cannot legally notarize documents for you. As a potential customer, you have the right to look up a notary record on the Secretary of State’s website to confirm that the notary’s commission is still active.
4. Does the notary public have a notary errors and omissions insurance policy?
An E&O policy will protect you if a notary makes an unintentional error. Try to have a copy of the notary’s E&O policy emailed to you before you hire the notary. Also ask the notary the amount of his or her E&O policy.
5. Does the notary belong to a professional notary organization?
Membership in a professional notary association such as the American Association of Notaries can ensure that notaries remain up to date on important notary law changes and that they continue their notary training.
6. Does the notary ask potential customers clarifying questions?
A prudent notary will screen a signer before traveling to notarize a document. Such a notary will likely ask you what type of documents need to be notarized and what kind of notarial act needs to be performed. He or she will clarify whether or not the document includes a notarial certificate, how many signers are involved, and if any witnesses are needed. The notary may also confirm that all signers will be present and will have valid identification documents available for examination.
Tips for Using the Missouri Notary Locator to Find a Notary Near You
When you find yourself asking, “How can I find a notary near me?”, it’s time to turn to a Missouri Notary Locator. The best way to find a Missouri notary public, notary signing agent, or mobile notary near you is to make use of a notary locator. The American Association of Notaries (AAN) offers a free, easy-to-use Missouri Notary Locator to help match potential customers with reliable notaries.
When using AAN’s free and convenient Missouri notary locator, consider these useful tips:
1. Check if the notary has verified credentials listed on the notary locator.
AAN allows notaries to have their credentials and contact information verified. As a customer searching for a notary public, you can use the Missouri notary locator to return results that contain certain verified credentials, including verified signing agent credentials, a verified notary commission, a verified background check, or even verified errors and omissions insurance.
2. Determine how long the notary has been listed on the notary locator.
While there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone who was only recently listed, an established listing may inspire you with greater confidence in the notary.
3. Narrow your search.
AAN’s Missouri Notary Locator allows you to search by zip code, city and state, or even county. If you know the name of the notary you wish to hire, but simply need contact information, you can also search by name.
Once you’ve decided to begin your search for a notary, you can find AAN’s free Missouri notary locator at the following URL: https://www.Missourinotary.com/find-an-Missouri-notary. Within mere seconds, you’ll have a list of notaries available at your fingertips. The American Association of Notaries notary locator is the quickest and easiest way to find a Missouri notary or a notary signing agent near you.
The American Association of Notaries has been helping individuals become notaries since 1994. Becoming a notary in Missouri is a straightforward process. Click here to learn how to become a notary in Missouri.