What Is a Legal Notarized Document?

A stamp and seal used for notarizing documents on a desk.
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A legal notarized document is a legal document for which a notary public authenticates the signatures. Getting a document notarized doesn't legalize its contents, but it does ensure that the parties signing it properly represented themselves.

Notarized Documents

Legal and financial documents are among those commonly notarized. Lawyers often ask clients to notarize affidavits and power of attorney documents, for instance. Medical directives and related documents are also notarized, and banks may require that a person have certain financial applications and documents notarized when the applicant or party is not physically present. A person may also prepare a will independently and want to have it notarized so it is accepted as an official document.

Notarization Process

States grant a notary public legal authority to notarize documents and charge a small fee that is limited by each state's laws. The notary commits to honestly and objectively authenticate documents for people with a signature, date and rubber stamp. While many people serve as notaries, county courthouses and banks are good places to find them. Some large employers like to have an internal notary public to cater to employee and client needs. The notarization process is fairly simple. The party or parties sign the document in front of the notary, show photo identification and get the required signature and stamp.