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Mississippi Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a notary public?

A notary public is a person of integrity who is appointed to act as an impartial witness to the signing of an important transaction and to perform a notarial act, which validates the transaction. A notary’s primary purpose is to prevent fraud and forgery by requiring the personal presence of the signer and satisfactorily identifying the signer.


What is a notary bond?

The notary bond is a type of surety bond issued by an approved surety company to protect the public against any wrongdoing on the part of the notary. The surety company guarantees to the public that you, as a notary public, will perform your duties in accordance with the law, and if you do not, the company will pay any damages caused by the incorrect notarization up to the amount of the bond.


What does it mean to "notarize a signature"?

“Notarize a signature” is a generic phrase used when administering an oath or taking an acknowledgment, the two most common notarial acts.


How do I administer an oath for a document?

Assuming the document is ready for notarization and the signer has been satisfactorily identified and is willing to sign the document, you administer the oath by asking a simple question, “Do you solemnly swear the information contained in this document is the truth, so help you God?” For an oath, you must witness the person signing the document.


What do I do if a signer objects due to religion?

A legal alternative to an oath is an affirmation. Ask the question: “Do you solemnly affirm under the penalties of perjury the information contained in this document is the truth?”


How do I take an acknowledgment?

Assuming the document is ready for notarization and the signer has been satisfactorily identified and is willing to sign the document, you take the signer’s acknowledgement by asking a simple question: “Do you acknowledge and declare this is your signature, you understand this document, and you willingly signed the document for the purposes stated herein?”


What is the venue?

"State of ______, County of ______"

This notation is called the venue. It is the location of the notarization - not the county where you live or work.


May I notarize the signature of a blind person?

Yes. But only if you first read the document to the person and you feel sure about the person’s understanding and willingness to sign.


May I notarize my own signature?

No. Notarizing your own signature violates the requirement for impartiality. Violation of this prohibition is a felony crime.


May I perform a notarization when I am a party?

No. If you are a party to the transaction or if you have a financial interest in the transaction, you may NOT be the notary for this transaction. You would not be impartial, and the transaction could be deemed unlawful or unenforceable.


May I assist a client with legal documents?

No, not unless you are an attorney licensed to practice law in Mississippi. Furthermore, you may not explain the contents of a document or give any advice about the document. If you do, you may be found guilty of the unauthorized practice of law.


May I help a friend fill out immigration papers?

No. Only attorneys or qualified immigration specialists may perform these duties.


Why should I keep a record book?

Record books are an inexpensive way to keep a record of every notarization you perform. There are several advantages, including:

--A record book can serve as a reminder of the steps of notarization.
--A record book may protect you against a claim of negligence or impropriety.
--A record book may help prove you notarized a document when there is a question about your signature or when the notarial certificate is destroyed or marred in some way.
--A record book can refresh your memory about a notarization you do not recall.
--A record book is reliable as evidence in court if you have to testify about a notarization.
--A record book not only protects you, but may also protect your customer and your employer.


When can I expect to receive my purchase?

Generally, you can expect your purchase to arrive within 5 to 7 business days after we receive notification of your appointment. However, please allow up to 12 business days for any carrier delays.


How do I pay for my order?

At the moment, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards. We also accept check and money orders by mail.


May I cancel or change my order?

Please contact customer service if you are not happy with your order. Once we know what the problem is, we will let you know how we can help.


Will you share my contact information with others?

Absolutely not. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.


How do I file a claim against a notary's bond?

A bond is required by the State to be available in order to compensate any individual harmed as a result of a breach of duty by the notary. Individuals harmed can file a claim against the notaries bond for financial damage.

Claims may occur due to signatures which are forged, incomplete or otherwise defective in real estate transactions, motor vehicle transfers and cases where the validity or date of a document may be an issue.

In order to file a claim against a notary bonded through our company you will need to submit the following:

Copy of improperly notarized document
Proof of error or fraud by notary
Letter stating amount of financial damage or loss caused by the notarization
Please send the above information to:

Claims Department
Notary Public Underwriters
P.O. Box 7457
Tallahassee, FL 32314-7457

Or fax to:
Attn: Claims Department

For all questions regarding the status of your filed claim, please contact CNA Surety at 800.331.6053.


Who do I contact to check on the status of a claim?

For all questions regarding the status of your filed claim, please contact CNA Surety at 800.331.6053.