A Mobile Notary Public is a public servant
statewide jurisdiction who is authorized to take acknowledgments,
protest instruments permitted by law to be protested (primarily
negotiable instruments and bills and notes), administer oaths, take
depositions, and certify copies of documents not recordable in the
A Notary Public is, in the true sense of
word, "a public servant" and "an officer of the State of Texas",
conveniently located in the community so that the notary may be of
service to the public. Each Notary Public takes an official oath of
office to faithfully perform the duties of the office, and to insure
such performance, a notary public is required to post a $10,000.00 bond
with the Secretary of State.
The primary duty of a Notary
Public is to show that a disinterested party (the Notary Public) has
duly notified the signer of an instrument as to the importance of such
document, and the signer of such document has declared that the
signer’s identity, signature, and reasons for signing such instrument
are genuine. The signature and seal of a Notary Public do not prove
these facts conclusively, but provide prima facie proof of them, and
allow persons in trade and commerce to rely upon the truth and veracity
of the Notary Public as a third party who has no personal interest in
A Notary Public is personally liable for
negligence or fraud in the performance of the duties of the office. The
bond is to insure that the person injured can recover at least
$10,000.00, but this does not protect the Notary Public from personal
liability for the full extent of damages caused by a breach of official
duty. In addition to civil liability, Notaries Public may be subject to
criminal prosecution and the revocation or suspension of their notary
public commission by the Secretary of State's office.
BOOK AND PUBLIC RECORDS
Gov't. Code Ann. § 406.014 requires that a Notary Public maintain
record book. This record book must be maintained whether or not any
fees are charged for your notary public services.
notary public other than a court clerk notarizing instruments for the
court shall keep in a book a record of: (1) the date of each instrument
notarized; (2) the date of the notarization; (3) the name of the
signer, grantor, or maker; (4) the signer's, grantor's, or maker's
residence or alleged residence; (5) whether the signer, grantor, or
maker is personally known by the notary public, was identified by an
identification card issued by a governmental agency or a passport
issued by the United States, or was introduced to the notary public
and, if introduced, the name and residence or alleged residence of the
individual introducing the signer, grantor, or maker; (6) if the
instrument is proved by a witness, the residence of the witness,
whether the witness is personally known by the notary public or was
introduced to the notary public and, if introduced, the name and
residence of the individual introducing the witness; (7) the name and
residence of the grantee; (8) if land is conveyed or charged by the
instrument, the name of the original grantee and the county where the
land is located; and (9) a brief description of the instrument.
NOTE: 1 T.A.C. §87.60 prohibits a
notary from recording in the notary's
book of record the identification number that was assigned by the
governmental agency or by the United States to the signer, grantor or
maker and that is set forth on the identification card or passport; or
any other number that could be used to identify the signer, grantor or
maker of the document. Section 87.60 does not prohibit a notary from
recording a number related to the residence or alleged residence of the
signer, grantor or maker of the document or the instrument.
in the notary's book are public information. A notary public shall, on
payment of all fees, provide a certified copy of any record in the
notary public's office to any person requesting the copy.
notary public who administers an oath pursuant to Article 45.019 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure is exempt from the requirement of recording
that oath in the notary public’s record book.
Gov't. Code Ann. § 406.013 requires a Notary Public to use a seal
office to authenticate the Notary Public’s official acts. Section
- A notary public shall
provide a seal of office that clearly shows, when embossed, stamped, or
printed on a document, the words "Notary Public, State of Texas" around
a star of five points, the notary public's name, and the date the
notary public's commission expires. The notary public shall
authenticate all official acts with the seal of office.
- The seal may be a circular form not more
than two inches in diameter or
a rectangular form not more than one inch in width and 2½ inches
length. The seal must have a serrated or milled edge border.
- The seal must be affixed by a seal press
or stamp that embosses or
prints a seal that legibly reproduces the required elements of the seal
under photographic methods. An indelible inkpad must be used for
affixing by a stamp the impression of a seal on an instrument to
authenticate the notary public's official act.
- Subsection (c) does not apply to an
authenticated document, except that an electronically transmitted
authenticated document must legibly reproduce the required elements of
Gov't. Code Ann. § 406.019 requires a Notary Public to notify the
Secretary of State of any change of address within ten (10) days of the
date on which the change is made. You may fill out a Notary Public
Change of Address
form or send a letter with your name, social security number, old
address, and new address to: Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit, P.
O. Box 13375, Austin, Texas 78711-3375.
PRACTICE OF LAW
attorney or similar trained legal professional often holds the position
of a Notary Public in Mexico and many foreign countries. To avoid
deception by such persons and to dispel erroneous assumptions, the
Texas Legislature enacted § 406.017 of the Government Code.
- A person commits an offense if the
person is a notary public and the person:
- states or implies that the person
is an attorney licensed to practice law in this state;
- solicits or accepts compensation to
prepare documents for or otherwise
represent the interest of another in a judicial or administrative
proceeding, including a proceeding relating to immigration to the
United States, United States citizenship, or related matters;
- solicits or accepts compensation to
obtain relief of any kind on behalf
of another from any officer, agency, or employee of this state or the
- uses the phrase “notario or
publico” to advertise the services of a notary public, whether by
signs, pamphlets, stationary or other written communication or by radio
- advertises the services of a notary
public in a language other than English, whether by signs, pamphlets,
stationary or other written communication or by radio or television; if
the person does not post or otherwise include the notice with the
advertisement a notice that complies with Subsection (b).
- The notice required by Subsection (a)(5)
must state that the notary
public is not an attorney and must be in English and in the language of
the advertisement and in letters of a conspicuous size. If the
advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be modified,
but must include substantially the same message. The notice must
include the fees that a notary public may charge and the following
"I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN TEXAS AND MAY NOT
GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE."
- It is an exception to prosecution under
this section that, at the time
the conduct charged, the person is licensed to practice law in this
state and is in good standing with the State bar of Texas.
- Except as provided by Subsection (e) of
this section, an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
- An offense under this section is a
felony of the third degree if it is
shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously
been convicted under this section.
- Failure to comply
with this section is, in addition to a violation of any other
applicable law of this state, a deceptive trade practice actionable
under Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code.
OR SUSPENSION OF COMMISSION BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Gov't. Code Ann. § 406.009 gives the Secretary of State the
to reject an application, or suspend or revoke the commission of any
Notary Public for "good cause".
- The secretary of state may, for good
cause, reject an application or suspend or revoke the commission of a
- An action by the secretary of state
under this section is subject to the rights of notice, hearing,
adjudication, and appeal.
appeal under this section is to the district court of Travis
The secretary of state has the burden of proof, and the trial is
conducted de novo.
- in this section, "good cause" includes:
- a final conviction for a crime
involving moral turpitude;
- a false statement knowingly made in
- the failure to comply with Section
final conviction for a violation of a law concerning the regulation of
the conduct of notaries public in this or another state;
imposition on the notary public of an administrative, criminal, or
civil penalty for a violation of a law or rule prescribing the duties
of a notary public; or
- performing any notarization
when the person for whom the notarization is performed did not
personally appear before the notary at the time the notarization is
603.008 of the Government Code requires a Notary Public to keep posted
the fees that a notary is authorized by law to charge.
county judge, clerk of a district or county court, sheriff, justice of
the peace, constable, or notary public shall keep posted at all times
in a conspicuous place in the respective offices a complete list of
fees the person may charge by law.
Section 603.006 of the Government Code
requires a Notary Public who charges a fee for notary services to
keep a fee book.
An officer who by law may charge a fee for a
service shall keep a fee
book and shall enter in the book all fees charged for services
603.007 of the Government Code states that a Notary Public must itemize
or be prepared to itemize the fees that the notary charges for
performing notarial services.
A fee under this chapter is not
payable to a person until a clerk or officer produces, or is ready to
produce, a bill in writing containing the details of the fee to the
person who owes the fee. The bill must be signed by the clerk or
officer to whom the fee is due or who charges the fee or by the
successor in office or legal representative of the clerk or officer.
Tex. Gov't. Code
Ann. § 406.024 sets out the maximum fees a Notary Public, or their
employer, may charge for notary public services. A Notary Public who
charges more than the maximum set out below subjects the notary to
possible criminal prosecution and suspension or revocation of the
notary’s notary public commission by the Secretary of State's office.
Notaries Public may
charge the following fees:
|Protesting a bill or
note for non-acceptance or non-payment, register and seal
notice of protest
|Protesting in all other
and seal to a protest
acknowledgment or proof of any deed or other instrument in writing, for
registration, including certificate and seal:
(1) for the first signature
(2) for each additional
|Administering an oath or
affirmation with certificate and seal
|All certificates under
seal not otherwise provided for
|Copies of all records
and papers in the Notary Public's office, for each page
|Taking the depositions
of witnesses, for each 100 words
|Swearing a witness to a
deposition, certificate, seal, and other business connected with taking
|All notarial acts not
following section consists of questions Notaries Public often have
about their office. If you have any questions about notarizing a
document you should contact the maker of the document, the Notary
Public Unit of the Secretary of State's office, or an attorney.
1. MAY I NOTARIZE MY SPOUSE'S
2. MAY I NOTARIZE FOR MY SPOUSE'S BUSINESS?
3. MAY I NOTARIZE FOR MY RELATIVES?
basic rules are: the act of taking and certifying acknowledgments
cannot be performed by a notary public financially or beneficially
interested in the transaction; and one who is a party to an instrument,
cannot act as a notary public. There is no specific prohibition against
a notary public notarizing another spouse's signature or a notary
public notarizing for a spouse's business. The facts in each situation
will determine whether such action is proper.
4. MAY I ALTER OR CHANGE THE
INSTRUMENT I NOTARIZE?
answer this question, a distinction must be made between the instrument
and the acknowledgment. A Notary Public is not authorized to change,
alter or draft any instrument. However, a Notary Public may correct the
certificate of acknowledgment to reflect the proper facts. For example,
if an acknowledgment is taken in Webb County and the certificate shows
Marion County, the certificate may be corrected as follows:
The State of Texas
Before me, (Notary Public's name),
a Notary Public, on this day personally ... etc.
5. MAY I PERFORM NOTARIAL ACTS IN
Yes. A notary public has statewide
jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts in any county in the state
MAY I PERFORM FUNCTIONS OTHER THAN THOSE OUTLINED IN TEX. GOV'T. CODE
§406.016 AND MAY I CHARGE FEES IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED IN
GOV'T. CODE § 406.024?
notary public’s authority is limited to those acts authorized in
§406.016. A Notary Public may not charge more than the prescribed
for performance of notarial acts.
7. WHAT IF THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE DATE THE INSTRUMENT IS SIGNED AND THE DATE THE
ACKNOWLEDGMENT IS ACTUALLY TAKEN?
answer this question, an example is given. If an instrument ends with
the wording: "Signed and executed at Tyler, Smith County, Texas, this
25th day of October, 2001," and the party whose name appears on such
instrument appears before the Notary Public on October 27th, 2001, the
Notary Public would fill in the acknowledgment with the true and
correct date when the signer personally appeared before the Notary
8. MAY I TAKE AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT
OVER THE TELEPHONE?
No. The person whose signature is
notarized must personally appear before the notary at the time the
notarization is performed.
9. MAY I CHANGE MY NAME FROM THE
NAME SHOWN ON MY NOTARY PUBLIC COMMISSION?
A Notary Public may change the name on their commission by sending the
Secretary of State a name change application, your current certificate
of commission, a rider or endorsement from the insurance agency or
surety, and a $20.00 filing fee. The above four elements must be sent
at the same time. For an instruction sheet, please contact the Notary
Public Unit at (512) 463-5705.
10. MAY I MAKE A CERTIFIED COPY OF
A BIRTH CERTIFICATE OR A MARRIAGE LICENSE:
Birth certificates and marriage licenses are recordable documents. A
recordable document is one that is recorded with some type of entity
whether it be the Secretary of State's Office, a court of law, a county
clerk, or the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Certified copies may be
obtained by contacting such entities.
document is one that has not been nor will ever be recorded with any
type of entity. For instance, a letter is not recorded with anyone but
there are times the sender of the letter would like to obtain a
certified copy of that letter for his or her file.
11. MAY A NOTARY PUBLIC DETERMINE
WHICH TYPE OF NOTARIAL CERTIFICATE SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO A DOCUMENT?
A Notary Public who is not an attorney should only complete a notarial
certificate which is already on the document or type a certificate of
the maker's choosing. If a notary public is brought a document
without a certificate and decides which certificate to attach, that
notary public would be "practicing law." However, a notary
public is provided copies of sample notarial ertificates with his or
her notary commission. A person for whom a notarization is performed
may choose the notarial certificate, and the notary may add such
certificate to the document.
12. SHOULD A NOTARY PUBLIC RELY ONLY
ON A CREDIT CARD IN DETERMINING THE IDENTIFICATION OF A SIGNER?
No. If the signer is not personally known
by the Notary Public or identified by a credible witness, the Notary
Public must use an identification card issued by a
governmental agency or a passport issued by the United States to
identify the signer.
13. IS A NOTARY REQUIRED TO
ADMINISTER AN OATH TO A DEPONENT SERVED DEPOSITION UPON WRITTEN
The deposition officer (“notary public”) must: record the testimony of
the witness under oath in response to the written questions and
prepare, certify and deliver the deposition transcript in accordance
with Rule 203 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
SECTION BELOW PROVIDES A NOTARY PUBLIC WITH A LIST OF PROHIBITED ACTS
THAT A NOTARY PUBLIC MAY NOT DO IN CARRYING OUT THE DUTIES OF THE
NOTARY’S OFFICE. IF A NOTARY PUBLIC PERFORMS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ACTS,
THE NOTARY MAY BE SUBJECT TO POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, CIVIL
LIABILITY, AND THE REVOCATION OR SUSPENSION OF THE NOTARY’S NOTARY
A Notary Public may not:
- perform acts, which constitute the
practice of law;
- prepare, draft, select, or give advice
concerning legal documents;
- use the phrase “notario” or “notario
publico” to advertise notary services;
- overcharge for notary public services;
- notarize a document without the
signer being in the notary’s presence;
- notarize the notary’s own signature;
- issue identification cards;
- sign a notarial certificate under any
other name than the one under which the notary was commissioned; or
- certify copies of documents recordable
in the public records.
- record in the notary’s record book the
identification number that was
assigned by the governmental agency or by the United States to the
signer, grantor or maker and that is set forth on an identification
card or passport; or any other number that could be used to identify
the signer, grantor or maker of the document. (This does not prohibit a
notary from recording a number related to the residence or alleged
residence of the signer, grantor or maker of the document or the
A formal declaration before an authorized official, such as a notary
public, by someone who signs a document and confirms that the signature
is authentic. Also, the certificate of the officer on such instrument
indicating that the document has been so acknowledged.
A voluntary declaration of facts, written down and sworn to or affirmed
by the declarant (“affiant”) before a Notary Public or other officer
having the authority to administer an oath.
AFFIRMATION: The act of
affirming the truth of a document, not an oath. "I solemnly affirm
and declare the foregoing to be a true statement...”
Note that an affidavit may appear in two forms: a sworn affidavit with
oath, or an affirmed affidavit with affirmation. Each has the same
JURAT: A certification
added to an affidavit or document stating when, where and before whom
such affidavit was made.
A solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered
person or thing, that one’s statement is true or that one will be bound
to a promise. The person making the oath implicitly invites punishment
if the statement is untrue or the promise is broken.
A Notary Public’s written statement that, upon presentment for payment
or acceptance, a negotiable instrument was neither paid nor accepted.
A formal declaration by which one swears to or affirms the truth of the
statements in a document. Also, the statement of a Notary Public that
the person appearing before the notary has been properly identified as
being the person purported to be appearing.