The Importance of
Integrity as a Notary
As a notary, you are responsible for creating a trusting dynamic between signing parties. Interacting with warmth and generosity during the entire signing process is of course important to creating a trustworthy environment. But taking extra steps to act with integrity regarding all situations, clients, relationships, and especially mistakes is crucial to your notary success.
One of the most important roles of a notary is to ensure that signers are who they say they are. As an unbiased third party, it’s your responsibility to accurately confirm the identities of signers in order to ensure the confidence of both signing parties and maintain a trustworthy reputation. Your notary public seal is the symbol that attests to the trust placed in you by the relying signers, bearing the legal weight to vouch for the authenticity of each transaction.
Skipping any steps in the notary process can result in potential fraud and seriously hurt your good standing. Maintaining a properly updated and accurate notary journal can help avoid mistakes that can result in mistrust. Using a well-constructed notebook that cannot be easily tampered with to record a factual account of your notary acts — as per California law — can verify your business was properly conducted if an act is called into question. Always record enough information to show evidence of each transaction that does not make the non-public private information available to the public.
Ensuring the willingness and competence of each signer is also crucial to maintaining trust. Speaking with the signers privately to make sure they understand the consequences of the legally binding transaction can help ensure no confusion or intimidation is taking place. Signers trust you to make sure they are aware of the document’s contents. Proceeding with honest discernment protects the signers, especially vulnerable populations, from legal issues.
Notaries lend credibility to the intentions of the documents involved. People expect that notaries have verified the authenticity of the obligations and performances stated in the documents and have done so impartially. Therefore, performing notarial acts in which you have a personal interest can breach the trust of signing parties. So, while it might be obvious, conducting your notarial acts with honesty and attention to detail is the single most important part of your role. Doing so can make or break your success as a notary public.