Notarize for a family member? Is that legal?
Most people in the US contact notary publics at regular intervals to get their documents notarized. If there is a notary in your house, then an obvious question pops into your mind- can they notarize your document?
It would be very convenient to have your documents notarized by a family member. You can avoid the hassle of contacting a notary public again and again. However, the simple question does not come with a simple answer.
At its face value, it looks like an easy yes/no question.
However, there are various aspects you need to consider before arriving at a conclusion.
Legality Of Notarizing A Document For A Family Member
To answer the question at its most basic level, we need to ask another question- Is it even legal to notarize the documents for a family member? Well, it depends on the state where you are notarizing your document. Most states in the US don’t prohibit notary publics from notarizing the document for their family members. Therefore, it is safe to say that it is legal in most of the US states to notarize the documents for family members. States like Florida have prohibited the notarization of documents for family members. Before notarizing the document for your family members, make sure your state allows it as per the law.
Ethics of Notarizing A Document For A Family Member
Now that we have established that notarization of documents for family members is in fact legal in most states, we can move ahead to the next question.
Should you notarize the documents for a family member?
Ideally, you should avoid such practices. If you are notarizing for distant relatives with whom you have no financial association, then it is probably okay to go ahead with it. However, may not be ethical if you are doing the same for close family members.
Suppose you are notarizing documents related to financial assets for your parents. You have a direct financial interest in this case in the form of inheritance.
Therefore, going ahead with the notarization will lead to a conflict of interest. This is just one of the many examples. Even if you don’t have a financial interest, your involvement in the notarization process can put a question mark on your impartiality as a notary.
Notarizing family members’ documents will eventually complicate legal proceedings if things go haywire in the future.
The question unfortunately lies in the grey area of notarization.
As a general rule, it is always better to avoid notarizing for family members. Even though it is legal in most states, it is better to avoid the possibility of conflict of interest and legal complications.
Convenience and discount on notary fees might tempt your family members to get the notarization done from you. However, you should put a full stop and explain everything to them in detail.
Ultimately, having you notarize for them is not worth saving a few dollars.