Common Questions & Answers
1. I need something notarized. What do you need from me?
All documents must be signed in front of the notary. You will also need to provide proof of identification when meeting. A valid driver’s license, military ID or other government-issued ID will also be required for all notary services.
2. Can I sign my portion of the document beforehand?
No! All documents must be signed and dated in front of the notary public. Otherwise, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of a notary public. Our job is to personally witness the signatures. “Today’s Date” is always the date used as well.
3. What if I am disabled or can’t write? I only have the ability to sign with a mark and not a complete signature. Can you still notarize my document(s)?
The short answer is ‘yes.’ However, the mark must be made in the presence of the notary. Below the mark, the notary will then write: ‘Mark affixed by (name of signer by mark) in presence of undersigned notary.’ Finally, the notary notarizes the signature by performing an acknowledgment, oath or affirmation, jurat, or verification or proof.
4. What if I am disabled and can’t write my signature or even make a mark? Can you still notarize my document(s)?
The short answer is ‘yes.’ In this case, you can designate another person to sign on your behalf. Two witnesses must also be present. They can either be personally known to the notary or identified by satisfactory evidence and must remain unaffected by the record. Everyone will be required to show proof of ID. Once all parties have been established:
Your designee must sign your name in front of you, the notary, and the two witnesses
Next, both witnesses must sign their own names near your signature
Finally, the notary will write below your signature: ‘Signature affixed by designee in the presence of (names and addresses of principal and witnesses). The notary will also notarize the signature through an acknowledgment, oath or affirmation, jurat, or verification or proof.
5. If I’m unable to make a mark or provide my signature, why do I need a witness?
A witness is a neutral third party who is present to watch you and everyone involved execute a legal document. They can’t benefit from the document being notarized in any way or be related to you or any party involved. In other words, no family members. This could create a potential conflict of interest. For example, a beneficiary cannot witness a Will when inheriting assets are at stake.
6. What if I can’t personally be there to have my document notarized?
It is against South Carolina law for any notary public to notarize a document for you if you can’t physically be there, or if applicable your witnesses. This is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a $500.00 fine or imprisonment of up to 30 days, or both.
7. If my document requires two witnesses, and one of them fails to show up, can my notary public serve as one of my witnesses?
Unfortunately, we cannot. Because we are there to witness a document, we can’t verify our own signature as a Notary because it would just be a conflict of interest.
8. My document is incomplete. Can you still notarize it?
No, because it creates the risk for potential fraud. For example, if a document selling a vehicle to someone else for an agreed amount was signed and notarized with the selling price left blank, a dishonest person could fill in a different amount later and claim that was the agreed sum of money.
9. If the document I possess lacks wording indicating the need for notarization, can you still notarize it anyway?
10. Can you notarize a document outside the state of South Carolina?
11. Are you able to offer me legal advice concerning the document(s) I need notarized?
No. We are not lawyers. Only a licensed attorney can provide you with legal advice.
12. Can you postdate or predate your notarial acts?
13. Can you certify or authenticate a photograph or photocopy?
No. However, the holder of the document may sign an affidavit certifying the authenticity of a photocopy which can then be notarized. The exception to this is when a certified copy is available from an official source (for example, vital records).
14. Can you certify vital records?
Certification of vital records must be done by officials in the country, state, or county offices that issue and keep those records. Vital records include birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, divorce decrees, and documents of that nature.
15. Can you conduct my real estate or mortgage loan closing? I know that some states allow it.
In South Carolina, notaries public are not allowed to conduct real estate or mortgage loan closings unless an attorney is present. While some states do allow for notaries to conduct a closing without an attorney, the South Carolina Supreme Court has clearly stated that an attorney must conduct all real estate and mortgage loan closings. Mortgage refinancing is also subject to this rule.
16. Will you need my fingerprints?
South Carolina law does not require that fingerprints are necessary for a notarial act. However, use of fingerprinting for Notary journal entries is the key to stemming the tidal wave of fraud sweeping America. With this said, we will take your thumbprint for any services rendered for our recordkeeping. For more details on why fingerprinting is just a smart thing to do, click here.
17. What is your payment policy?
Payment must be made the day that the notarial act is to take place. With our fees, there are no surprises. You will be provided with a quote prior to the notarization. The day of the notarial act, however, payment is required before any stamps or signatures by the notary public are issued.
18. What forms of payment do you except?
We accept cash, check and most major credit cards.
19. Why should I use a mobile notary public rather than my bank or my local UPS store?
Your bank or local UPS store are certainly great places to utilize. However, they are not for everyone. A mobile notary public offers convenience and flexibility. Most are available during all major holidays and after hours when your bank and UPS store are likely to be closed. Mobile notary publics are also perfect for people who are unable to drive, who are sick or disabled and need someone to come directly to them.
20. Are there any circumstances that would prevent you from notarizing my document(s)?
Yes, there are actually. Here are some circumstances that would require us to refuse any notarial act:
You can’t be properly identified
You don’t speak the same language as the Notary (in this case, English)
You are unwilling to swear or affirm the contents of the document for notarizations that require an oath or affirmation
We have reason to believe that you appear to be confused, disoriented, or lack the mental capacity to sign documents
We have reason to believe that you are being coerced to sign, rather than signing of your own free will
The document you need notarized is incomplete or missing pages
The document does not contain a notarial certificate, and you can’t or won’t tell us which type of notarial certificate is required
21. Can you notarize my document if I live outside of South Carolina?
No, we can only notarize documents while physically in South Carolina.
22. If I bring you a document from another state or country, can you notarize it?
Yes, as long as you appear before the Notary Public in South Carolina to execute the document.