Notary Public Underwriters Blog
How to Notarize a Document for a Minor
- Created: Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:29
Contrary to popular belief, you can notarize a document for a minor. The minor themselves must sign. This is not like another school form or doctor’s visit where the legal guardian or parent may sign for the consent of the minor. If the minor’s name is the one identified on the document which requires the notarial act, the minor is the one required the sign. Furthermore, the notarial act process does not change simply because the signer is a minor. Physical presence is still a requirement. Proper identification must be provided. You, as the notary public, must establish that the minor understands the content of the document and is not being coerced into signing.
Must Be Physically Present for the Notarial Act
The cardinal rule of physical presence of the signer does not go away simply because the signer is a minor, because they are the one signing the document they must be present for the notarial act.
Along the same lines, they must present the proper identification to allow the notary public to confirm the minor’s identity. If proper identification cannot be provided, some states allow the notary to resort to credible witnesses. Remember, parents cannot be used as a credible witness (credible witnesses must be a disinterested third party).
Establish the Signer Understands the Document
As always, it must be establish the signer of the notarial act understands the documents, its contents and the consequences of signing. It is up to the notary public to determine if they feel the minor understand the document. Some state’s laws decide the lowest legal age they allow for a minor to be a signer in a notarial act. If it is not stated in your state, then just ensure the minor is old enough to read and comprehend the meaning of the document they are signing. Also, ensure they are not being coerced into signing, and are participating out of their own free will. For instance, a four year old may not understanding what she is signing her name to, but a 13 year old may have a full understanding of the contents of a document. Question the child themselves, and use your own judgment to determine if they minor fully understand the act. Under no circumstances can the parent sign for the child.
Always remember the trifecta when completing a notarial act:
- Personal appearance
- Proper identification required
- They must not be coerced into it
Remember specific laws vary per state, and be sure to check with your state’s regulations before completing a notarial act.