Cm Articles Notary Public

Amendments To The Notary Public Act That Affect You

by Frances Knox

In our current paper-driven world, I am sure you have encountered a Notary Public whose services were needed for any number of reasons — signing a deed for the purchase of your new home, signing your Last Will and Testament, signing your Health Care Power of Attorney, or signing numerous financial documents for the purchase of your car or for securing credit. The North Carolina General Assembly has recently amended N.C.G.S. 10B (The Notary Public Statute) in order to establish more safeguards for the public when signing legal documents that require the acknowledgement or affirmation of a Notary Public.

Notaries must now be able to write, read, and speak English as per 10B-5(b). A Notary must also have a high school diploma or GED, be a legal U.S. resident, and be at least eighteen years old. All Notaries who apply to be re-commissioned must now pass a written exam, unless a member of the Bar. These new requirements will nurture stronger ethical responsibilities among Notaries, thus providing the public will greater protective measures when signing on the dotted line.

The General Assembly’s 2005 Amendments also provide for new ways a Notary’s acknowledgement can be disqualified. If the signer of the document or any witness to the document is not in the presence of the Notary, then the Notary’s affirmation is not legal. A violation may now result in the Notary facing a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If the Notary does not know the signer of or the witness to a document, the Notary must ask for valid identification or the Notary’s acknowledgement is not valid. To further protect the public, a Notary is now allowed under the new amendments to refuse to notarize the documents if the signer or the witness does not understand the content of the documents. In addition, the General Assembly has now established that a Notary must not notarize a document if the Notary believes the signer or the witness have been forced into signing the document.

These new amendments will promote the Notary Public’s ability to protect your interests when signing legal documents by preventing fraud and forgery. At the Knox Law Center, we are committed to providing you with numerous resources that give you access to new laws and information so that you can make the best possible legal decisions. Visit our website at and surf our Resource Links page for other public agencies’ websites. Remember to contact our office at 704-315-2363 or 866-704-9059 (Toll free) for all your legal needs.

Frances Knox is an attorney with Knox Law Center. She can be reached at 704-315-2363 or 866-704-9059 (Toll free). The firm’s website is and her email address is [email protected].

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