In the State of Missouri, all notary publics must be appointed and commissioned by the Missouri Secretary of State. We are appointed to a four-year term, must present a $10,000 bond and are sworn in by the County Clerk. Notaries can perform notarial acts anywhere within the state of Missouri. We are not permitted to perform notarizations in other states. At Clayton Mobile Notary, we are often asked to provide notary services in the neighboring state of Illinois. It is illegal for us to notarize documents if we are physically located in Illinois. It is legal to notarize documents that were written or prepared in other states as long as the document is being signed and notarized in Missouri.
A notary near you does not have the authority to prepare legal documents. Sometimes we are asked to write the document to be notarized. There are no circumstances in which a notary is allowed to do that. In addition, all documents presented to a Missouri notary for notarization must have the correct form of notary certificate on them.
What types of identification are acceptable? The best form of identification is one that includes a photograph and signature. A valid drivers license, US Passport or military ID are good sources of identification. Please be sure to have appropriate identification at the time of the appointment.
Notaries are not expected to be medical or psychiatric experts. However, according to the National Notary Association we are required “to pay attention to whether a signer appears aware and willing to conduct business requiring a notarization. In some states this critical evaluation of a persons awareness of the transaction is a legal requirement. Assessing a signers awareness generally means observing whether the signer is mentally aware enough to understand what’s going on at the time they sign documents. Although these situations are rare, sometimes they can be challenging.
These are the most common situations in which a signers awareness may be compromised:
- An elderly signer suffering from confusion, dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Heavily medicated signers including those facing surgery or in hospice care.
- Signers who are under the influence of alcohol or narcotics past the point of comprehension
We want to do everything possible to execute a smooth notarization while adhering to our role as a public servant. There are a couple of simple, non-invasive things that we might do to assess the signers awareness.
- Introduce and Explain: Ease possible tension with a friendly introduction and brief explanation of your role as a signature witness.
- Ask Questions: Ask open-ended questions requiring more than “yes” or “no” answers which will help determine the signers coherence.
- Seek Clarification: If we are unsure if a signer understands our questions we may ask them to tell us the title of the document.
In every circumstance, we will be very polite, patient and gracious with the signer and their relatives. In our experience, it is very rare that we have to decline a notarization and we always seek to have an optimal outcome for all stakeholders. If you have any concerns, please let us know when you set up the appointment. We will do everything possible to handle sensitive signings.