Thinking About Becoming a Notary?

in Business Ideas,Ideas for New Businesses

Notary publics play an important role in the business and legal affairs of any community. For this reason, the notary’s role has many specific legal requirements and obligations attached to it. Because notaries are creatures of state law, these requirements vary widely by state. Virtually all states require that someone wanting to become a notary must be a legal resident of the state. In addition, some states require that a prospective notary must take and pass a notary exam as part of the process of earning their commission.

The process for taking the notary exam also varies by state. In some states, the notary exam must be taken as part of the application process. In others, the notary exam is scheduled by the state after the prospective notary files their application. Some states require the payment of a fee to take the notary exam, while in others the exam is free. The requirements for passing the notary exam also vary by state. In some jurisdictions, correct answers on 70 to 80 percent of the questions will result in a passing score, while a few states require a perfect performance on the notary exam. The Secretary of State’s office is a good source of information about the details of the exam.

The notary exam usually consists of a series of questions dealing with the legal responsibilities or financial liability of a notary. It is not uncommon to see scenario questions on the notary exam, where a situation is described and the prospective notary must decide what the proper or legal course of action is. Because a prospective notary must answer most or all of the questions on the notary exam correctly to pass, a prospective notary should plan on some preparation to take the exam.

Virtually every jurisdiction that requires the notary exam offers some form of preparation class. These classes are usually taught throughout the jurisdiction. In some states the classes are offered only by approved vendors, while in others, the classes are taught at local community colleges. Some states now offer this training online, either in addition to or in place of classroom training. In some states, this training is required as a prerequisite to taking the notary exam; in a few states, even though the notary exam is not required, a notary training class is required. Information about class requirements and availability is usually available from the Secretary of State’s office.

While not every state requires a notary class or a notary exam, it may be a good idea to take the exam anyway. Because there are stringent legal requirements attached to being a notary public, anyone desiring to be a notary owes it to themselves to become intimately familiar with the legal requirements, financial liabilities, reporting and record keeping requirements and other procedures for working as a notary in their home state. Taking a notary class and passing a notary exam are ideal preparation steps, even in those jurisdictions where no notary exam is required.

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