What Is A Notary Public?

A Notary Public  is an individual issued an appointment by the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions to serve the public as an impartial witness, performing notarial acts as are allowed or required by law. 

If I Get A Document Notarized, Is It “Legal”?

Notarization does not guarantee that the information on a document is accurate or legal. The signer is responsible for the content of the document. The Notary Public simply verifies the signer’s identity, usually by verifying a current identifying document containing a photo, physical description, and  signature. The Notary Public witnesses the signing of these documents.

What Is A Valid Identification If I Need Something To Be Notarized?

Government issued photo IDs, such as driver’s licenses, state ID cards, passports, military IDs, and inmate IDs are sufficient for certification. Social Security cards, birth Certificates, credit cards, immigration cards, and temporary driver’s licenses are not suitable for certification. If none of these are available, speak with the Notary Public about other forms.

What Is An Acknowledgement? 

An acknowledgement is a formal declaration that a person is signing a document voluntarily and with an understanding of its nature and purpose. 

What Is A Jurat?

"Jurat” is the traditional name used to refer to the notary’s written certificate, which should appear after the signature of a person who has given an oath or has made a sworn statement. The jurat must be signed and dated contemporaneously when the performance of the notarial act occurs, identify the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed, indicate that it is signed by a notarial officer of this State, and include the date of expiration, if any, of the officer's commission. 

What is an Apostille?

Apostilles are certificates issued by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) to authenticate the signatures of public officials and notaries public on certain types of documents issued in Wisconsin to be used outside the United States of America.

Can A Notary Give Legal Advice Or Draft Legal Documents?

Wisconsin State law strictly prohibits Notaries from the practice of law. Notaries should never advise on any matter relating to a document unless they are an attorney or professionals certified or licensed in a relevant area of expertise.