A Notary Public is a public official working in an official capacity and the office of Notary Public is one of “Trust”. Most employers these days will have a need or even a requirement that some part of their office staff be a notary public. All individuals seeking to become a notary public in the state of Washington must be able to pass a background screening and have a clean record of criminal history preceding the statute of limitations, this means 10 years.
Common notarial acts of a notary are as follows. Jurats, Acknowledgments, Oath’s, Affirmations, Appostiles, and the witnessing of signatures on various other forms. Notaries must first identify individuals through qualifying credentials this is done though affirming identity by Government Issued ID cards usually D.L., Military ID Card, Passport or State ID Card. No medical marijuana cards do not count. Some very uncommon notarial acts are protests or presentments, these documents can be notarized however they are usually done at the office of an attorney or governmental agency. According to the NNA’s WA Notary Law Primer you must have working knowledge of the Uniform Commercial Code or be working under the supervision of an attorney. Notarizing these documents will not jeopardize your commission however you may subject yourself to unnecessary risk and likely be subpoenaed in a lawsuit, I highly recommend avoiding such practices. Moreover, notaries are best noted for the notarizing of affidavits, power of atto rney forms, wills, hand written letters (by attaching a loose certificate), and loan documents. Uninformed employers may ask you to notarize documents without verifying identity but doing so is a violation of the state statute RCW 42.44.080. If you willingly notarize documents without first confirming identity you will be breaking the law and your willful engagement in such practices will prevent you from acting as a notary in the future, please abstain from taking such actions as your commission will be revoked. Employers cannot force notaries into illegal practices so respectfully decline such actions while being earnest and honest.
Retaining a Notary commission is quite simple however it is a process that can take 2 to 4 weeks depending on where you get your stamp from. The commission application is obtained from the department of licensing’s website dol.wa.gov and has all the instructions listed there; I have truncated the process for you here. First, fill out the online form remember the name you use on the form will be the name on your stamp so keep it short if you plan on doing courtesy loan signings. Second, Call Merchants Bonding Co (515) 243-8171 and get a 10,000 dollar surety bond the yearly premium is about 25 dollars and the term should be 4yrs to sister your commission of 4yrs (typical), you do not need Errors and Omissions Ins, however if you plan on conducting courtesy loan signings it is required, E&O insurance can be obtained from merchants as well. Third, Send the Bond, a check for 30 dollars and Application to:
Po box 35001
Seattle, WA 98124
When you get your application back send a copy of your Notary Certificate from the DOL and payment of 16.95 to Notary Stamp.com they will ship your stamp to you within 7 business days. Wa’ la’ you are now a Notary Public in the State of Washington.
Lastly, you will need some working knowledge of notary laws and Notary language I highly recommend the NNA’s Notary law primer it is a very useful tool for mobile notaries and especially for loan signing agents. You can get a copy of the notary law primer online at the National Notary Associations website NationalNotary.org for 17.95. Washington State does not have a legal requirement that notaries carry a log book however if you are just starting out I do recommend one they are 11.95. Loose certificates, acknowledgements, and other various legal forms can be obtained from GreyhounLegal.com. The total initial investment to become a Notary Public in the State of Washington is roughly 76.85 plus postage and shipping.