Notarization of Documents

by: Magna Carta Law Office
What is notarization?

Notarization or notarial act is the official fraud-deterrent process of examining, certifying and record-keeping performed by a notary public or notarial services attorney that solidifies the important document as trustworthy. It is a requirement of many countries that personal or commercial documents originating from or signed in another country to be notarized before they can be officially used or before they can be legally recognized.  Once notarized, a document will have more legal credibility.

Why are we being asked to notarize certain documents?
It is an assurance by a duly appointed and unbiased notary public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without coercion or intimidation.  A notary certifies that the person signing the document is who they claim to be and that they signed the document in front of a notarial services attorney.

What is a notary public or notarial services attorney?
A notary public is a person of integrity who is appointed to act as an impartial witness to the signing of an important transaction and to perform a notarial act which validates the transaction.  A notary’s primary purpose is to prevent fraud and forgery by requiring the personal presence of the signer and satisfactorily identifying the signer. In Thailand, unlike other countries, only lawyers/attorneys are given the authority to function as notarial services attorneys through the regulations of the Lawyers Council.  For an attorney in Thailand to become a notarial services attorney, he must pass a special legal training course from the Lawyers Council in order to get a notary’s license or attestation.

What are the functions of a notarial services attorney?
A notarial services attorney may execute the following functions:
• Attestation of signature
• Certifying true copy of documents
• Attestation of ID such as passport / driver’s license
• Authentication of title deeds
• Administrating an oath and affirmation
• Testimony and oath and affirmation (affidavit)
• Attestation of address
• Confirmation of birth certificate
• Certification of translations
• Verification of documents
• Power of attorney
• Witnessing contracts and other related documents

What documents normally require notarization?
Examples of documents commonly notarized are passports, bank statements, land title deeds, contracts, power of attorney, applications for international visa, etc.

Is notarization required by law?
Yes, it is required for many documents.  Certain affidavits, real estate deeds and other documents may not be legally binding unless they are duly notarized.

How do I get my document notarized?
Be sure to take an unsigned document to the notary as you will be required to sign them in front of the notarial services attorney.  You will be asked to present your original proof of identification with photo and signature such as passport or other government issued ID.  Your document shall be signed and marked with a stamp or seal to indicate that the signature is legitimate and it wasn’t somebody else pretending as you.

Aside from the notary signature, what particular details must be supplied by the notarial services attorney?
Be sure to check that the document has been marked with a seal or stamp.  The notation must correctly identify the date and place of notarization, the full name, title, certificate validity date, and license number of the notarial services attorney.

Does notarization mean that a document and its content are accurate or legal?
Notaries are not responsible for the accuracy or legality of the content of the documents they notarize as notaries merely certify the identity of signers and has no obligation to verify a document’s content.  The signers are responsible for the content of their documents.

May a notary refuse to serve people?
Notaries should not refuse to serve anyone because of religion, nationality or lifestyle.  A notarial services attorney is only required by law to refuse service to anyone if they have a good reason to suspect fraud and the signer cannot reasonably prove his or her identity and general competence.

Can a document with blank spaces be notarized?
A blank line is an invitation for fraud.  Prior to notarization, documents should be entirely completed except for the space intended for the signature of the bearer as the document must be signed in front of the notarial services attorney.

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