What is a Mobile Notary Public?

Mona D. Rigdon

A notary public is an individual commissioned by a government entity to attest to proper execution of important documents, including affidavits, loan closings and many others. The purpose of having a notary public who witnesses and attests to document signings is to have an unbiased party verify that the named person signed the document, was of sound mind and did not appear to be coerced into doing so. Most notary public services are provided from an office. Banks, law firms and other businesses routinely have a notary public on hand. A mobile notary public provides the same type of services but travels to clients who cannot or would rather not come to them.

Many public notaries work on a mobile basis.
Many public notaries work on a mobile basis.

Mobile notary public service providers generally work with real estate brokers, banks, attorneys and doctors to provide witness and attestation to a range of documents. During periods of time when competition for refinancing a home is high, many homeowners opt to use an online or non-local lender to do so. In these cases, a mobile notary public is the most convenient and cost-effective way for both parties to close the deal. The mobile notary public travels to the borrower's preferred location, and all documents can be reviewed and signed within the comfort of the borrower's home or office. This way, the borrower's day is disrupted only minimally, and the lender saves hourly wages and travel expenses that would have been required for an employee of the lender to come out and handle the closing.

A notary public certifies documents and witnesses signatures.
A notary public certifies documents and witnesses signatures.

As with any career, job descriptions vary widely for the same position or title in various world cultures. The various job duties of a mobile notary public extend beyond the more common duties in some nations. Writing up protests of happenings to ships, crews and cargoes; presenting or protesting bills of exchange; authenticating personal documents submitted with applications to marry, divorce, or obtain immigration or travel papers are some of the more unique duties for which a mobile notary public might be responsible in some nations.

Mobile notaries attest affidavits and other documents.
Mobile notaries attest affidavits and other documents.

Most mobile notaries public do not require any additional special notary supplies outside of the stamp and the logbook, but an expense log might be helpful when they are asked to travel long distances. Some traveling notaries charge by the mile, and others charge a flat fee for travel within a certain radius of their location or a higher fee for locations outside that radius. Other extra charges come into consideration for notarizing documents after business hours or on weekends. They have to travel and often must be ready at short notice, so mobile notaries generally are significantly more expensive than regular notaries.

It should be noted that in a common-law government, notaries public are not licensed to practice law or offer legal advice. A mobile notary public is not allowed to explain what a document means, to explain the implications of signing or not signing it or to answer any questions. In most jurisdictions, doing so would be practicing law without a license, which is a crime punishable by law. In civil systems, notaries have different duties and authorities, so knowing what type of notary public is authorized in a particular jurisdiction is integral. Legal trouble often ensues when well-intentioned, Spanish-speaking aliens to common-law nations such as the United States assume that a notary public serves the same function as a civil law nation's notario publico.

A mobile notary public travels on behalf of clients to provide certification services related to document filings.
A mobile notary public travels on behalf of clients to provide certification services related to document filings.

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Discussion Comments


@Markerrag -- I am not sure how much it costs to become a notary in your state or mine, but the article made a point of mentioning that people are doing more and more official business online. In those instances, a mobile notary would be darned convenient. I'm not real sure how to go about finding one, though.


Keep in mind that, in the United States, an attorney is quite often also a notary public for the sheer convenience of it all. An attorney who is also a notary can notarizes legal documents (of course) and that is great for clients.

Most attorneys in my state are, in fact, notaries. It is very inexpensive to become a notary public and that makes me wonder. Are there some states where it is expensive to become a notary public and will you find a mobile notary in those states? It just seems that it is so inexpensive to become a notary that most banks and companies that deal with official documents will become notaries, anyway.

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