Duties of Florida Public Notaries
(Official Notarial Acts)
In the State of Florida public notaries are authorized by law to perform six basic duties:
An oath or affirmation is administered to a document signer when the signer is required to make a sworn statement about certain facts. The signer must personally appears before the notary public to swear (or affirm) the facts contained in the document. A public notary is an officer duly appointed to administer oaths, that the information contained in the document is true.
To take an acknowledgment, the document signer must personally appear before the notary public, and declare that he/she has signed the document voluntarily. The following are documents typically requiring an acknowledgment: deeds, mortgages, contracts, and powers of attorney (except those pertaining to motor vehicle titles).
Public notaries are authorized to attest to the trueness of photocopies of certain documents. Although commonly known as a “certified copy”, the notary law refers to these documents as attested photocopies. The following documents can be photocopied from the original (if not officially filed or recorded) and attested to by a notary, because certified copies cannot be obtained from another public official: Florida driver’s license, vehicle title, social security card, U.S. passport, and more.
Florida is one of only three states which authorize notaries public to perform marriage ceremonies. A Notary public may perform a marriage ceremony only within the geographical boundaries of the state of Florida. It is recommended that 2 witnesses, other than the notary, sign the marriage certificate in the event that proof of the marriage ceremony is necessary in the future.
Florida law requires that, when applying for a Florida title for the first time on a used motor vehicle, the owner must sign a sworn statement that the vehicle identification (VIN) number and the odometer reading on the vehicle are correct. Additionally, a physical inspection of the vehicle must be done by an authorized person to certify the VIN. Notaries public are included in the list of persons authorized to certify this information § 319.23(3)(a)(2), Fla. Stat. (A form prepared by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, HSMV 82042 (Rev. 5/95)S, is used for this purpose).
Florida law provides that a financial institution may open a safe-deposit box if the rental fee is past due, providing that proper notice has been made and that certain other conditions are met. A notary public is authorized and required to be present for the opening of the safe-deposit box, to inventory the contents of the vault, and to make an appropriate certificate of the opening. The notary is not required to estimate the value of the contents of the safe-deposit box.
The information contained on this page is based on the “GOVERNOR’S REFERENCE MANUAL FOR NOTARIES” available free to the public on the flgov.com website.
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