A notary public helps prevent fraud and identity theft by witnessing signatures on documents. The notary checks a person's driver's license, passport or other photo ID to verify her identity and then watches her sign her name. Notaries normally charge a fee for this service. Maximum fees are regulated and vary from state to state.
State-imposed ceilings on notary fees vary considerably. For example, in Massachusetts the fee limit is $1.25, while in California it is $10. Notaries are easy to locate. You'll find them at banks, law firms and realty offices. Courts and county clerk's offices are other places to locate a notary public when you need one. You might even be able to get a document notarized at a travel agency or pharmacy.
Every Signature Counts
A key point to remember is that notaries charge on a per signature basis. Suppose a husband and wife both sign a document that must be notarized in California. The fee can be $20 for the two signatures even though they appear on one document. You may be able to get discounts, especially if the notary works for a bank or other business where you are a customer. Some notaries offer additional services, such as a mobile notary who comes to you to notarize a document. Notaries can charge for additional services. However, they must separate the notary fee from other fees.