By definition, a Notary Public is an impartial public officer, charged with administering oaths, witnessing signatures, and authenticating documents. More recently, there has become a much greater demand for Notary Publics to be present during the signing of legal documents, whether they be sales contracts, equipment lease contracts and real estate contracts. For this reason, more and more companies are turning to their in-house Notary Public to witness and notarize their contract signings.
But how impartial is your in house Notary Public? And more importantly, how impartial does you’re in house Notary Public appear?
Take for example a recent Wisconsin Court case where a Notary Public, who was also a Bank employee, improperly notarized a homeowner’s signature on home mortgage documents, leading to the forced sale of the homeowner’s property. To stop the sale of the home, the homeowner sued both the Notary Public and the Bank, because the Notary Public was employed by the bank. As part of the suite, the homeowner requested a declaration voiding the mortgage lien, and reimbursement for all attorney fees. While large banks and businesses will always have the money to fight theses types of cases, the bank could have done a better job ensuring the impartiality of the Notary Public that executed the mortgage documents.
And while having an in house Notary Public is convenient, it’s also easy for an in house Notary Public to cut corners. Whether it is by not properly identifying signers, notarizing documents not signed in the presence of the Notary Public, or notarizing incomplete documents, cutting corners during the notarization process can have unforeseen and far reaching consequences, from voided contracts, to voided loans, to voided Wills and Living Trusts. Using the services of an outside Notary Public will help to minimize the risks and liability of employing and using a in- house Notary Public.
By using the services of an outside Notary Public who has no vested or financial interest in the transaction and is not employed by either part signing the documents, the appearance of impartiality on the part of the Notary Public will remain intact.