It might sound easy; just don’t lie, and everything’s good, right?
Simple honesty is a good policy. But in the world of legal responsibility things are a little more complicated at times. It’s worth taking extra precautions to ensure you are not notarizing a false statement.
Why does it matter so much?
When you notarize any document, you swear an oath. You are legally guaranteeing that the information on the document is true. This means if anything on the document is false, you are committing a crime called perjury:
Perjury: making a false statement under oath or affirmation. Perjury is a crime punishable by a fine and/or prison term. – American Society of Notaries
Those are serious consequences.
It’s also worth noting that a notary public only witnesses and attests to your oath. He is not responsible for the facts on the document – only to ensure that you understood them and swore they were true.
So, let me share a few extra steps you can take to avoid notarizing false statements.
1. Tell the Truth
Plain and simple. Just tell the truth when preparing a legal document.
2. Find the right notary public.
It’s important that you find a notary public who is reliable and focused on your best interest. He also needs to be someone with whom you work and communicate well. Your notary needs to be able to explain things to you clearly so you understand what you are swearing an oath to.
3. Ask your notary questions.
Your notary will prepare documents for you. He will use the correct legal terminology to make the documents valid and clear. If you don’t understand something he reviews with you:
- ask what it means
- explain it in your own terms to see if you got it right
- be sure you know the implications of every clause and condition
- understand what you are obligated to do
You must never swear an oath when you don’t understand something. It can lead to you being responsible for a false statement.
4. If you learn something new, notify your notary immediately.
It happens sometimes. You swear an oath based on what you know. Then you learn something new, remember something or a situation changes. In this case, notify your notary immediately:
If you have not delivered your document yet, a new one can be drafted.
If you have delivered it, your notary will advise you on the steps to take.
Solving such a situation usually involves other parties. But your notary will be in the best position to give you clear steps. Remember, he is there to help.
If you are notarizing a document, or have any questions about the process, contact us at Golden Notary. We’re professionals working for your interest.