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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Washington Laws on Notaries Public


Washington Laws on Notaries Public



Washington laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 42.44 of Revised Code of Washington.  Pursuant to Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.44.020, any person who:
  • Is at least eighteen years of age;
  • Resides in Washington state, or resides in an adjoining state and is regularly employed in Washington state or carries on business in Washington state; and
  • Can read and write English;
may be appointed to be a notary public by the director of licensing.
Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.44.030 provides that the director should deliver a certificate evidencing the appointment to each person appointed as a notary public.
However, in addition to the unprofessional conduct, the director may deny appointment as a notary public to any person based on the following conduct, acts, or conditions:
  • Has had disciplinary action taken against any professional license in this or any other state; or
  • Has engaged in official misconduct, whether or not criminal penalties resulted.
Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.44.050 provides that every person appointed as a notary public should procure a seal or stamp, on which should be engraved or impressed the words Notary Public and State of Washington, the date the appointment expires, the person’s surname, and at least the initials of the person’s first and middle names.  The director should prescribe by rule the size and form or forms of the seal or stamp.
A person appointed as a notary public by the director may perform notarial acts for a term of four years, unless:
  • Disciplinary action has been taken against the notarial appointment, including a shorter term, suspension, or revocation; or
  • The notarial appointment has been resigned.
Pursuant to Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.44.080, a notary public is authorized to perform notarial acts in accordance with the following, as applicable:
  • In receiving an acknowledgment, a notary public must determine and certify, either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence, that the person appearing before the notary public and making the acknowledgement is the person whose true signature is on the document.
  • In receiving an acknowledgment from a person physically unable to sign his/her name or make a mark, a notary public should, in addition to other requirements for taking an acknowledgment, determine and certify from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence that the person appearing before the notary public is physically unable to sign his/her name or make a mark and is otherwise competent.
  • In receiving a verification upon oath or affirmation, a notary public must determine, either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence, that the person appearing before the notary public and making the verification is the person whose true signature is on the statement verified.
  • In witnessing or attesting a signature, a notary public must determine, either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence, that the signature is that of the person appearing before the notary public and named in the document.
  • In certifying or attesting a copy of a document or other item, a notary public must determine that the proffered copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of that which was copied.
  • In certifying that an event has occurred or an act has been performed, a notary public must determine the occurrence or performance either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence based upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the notary public.
  • A notary public has satisfactory evidence that a person is the person described in a document if that person: (a) Is personally known to the notary public; (b) is identified upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the notary public; or (c) is identified on the basis of identification documents.
  • The signature and seal or stamp of a notary public is prima facie evidence that the signature of the notary is genuine and that the person is a notary public.
  • A notary public is disqualified from performing a notarial act when the notary is a signer of the document which is to be notarized.
A notarial act has the same effect under the law of Washington State as if performed by a notary public of this state, if performed in jurisdiction of and under authority of a foreign nation or another state, commonwealth, territory, district, or possession of the U.S. by any of the following persons:
  • A notary public of that jurisdiction;
  • A judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of a court of that jurisdiction; or
  • Any other person authorized by the law of that jurisdiction to perform notarial acts.
A notarial act has the same effect under the law of this state as if performed by a notary public of this state if performed by any of the following persons under authority granted by the law of the U.S.:
  • A judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of a court;
  • A commissioned officer in active service with the military forces of the United States;
  • An officer of the foreign service or consular agent of the United States; or
  • Any other person authorized by federal law to perform notarial acts.
Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 42.44.160 provides that a notary public commits official misconduct when s/he signs a certificate evidencing a notarial act, knowing that the contents of the certificate are false.  Official misconduct also constitutes unprofessional conduct for which disciplinary action may be taken.  A notary public who commits an act of official misconduct is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.  Similarly, any person not appointed as a notary public who acts as or otherwise impersonates a notary public is guilty of a a gross misdemeanor.

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