A notary public is a law officer recognised by the government. One of their chief duties is to verify the identity of the person who is a witness when required. This helps in the process of verification and authentication of public documents and other necessary paperwork. A notary acts as an impartial witness. Getting a document notarised indicates the presence of the notary when the material is being signed. But, in some cases, the witness cannot be present at the same time as the notary. Documents are pre-signed in such cases.
Can a notary certify an unattested signature?
In a nutshell, the answer is yes. A notary public in Surrey has provisions for certifying certain documents which have not been signed or executed in his or her presence. But the process isn’t straightforward. Here are some guidelines that have to be followed:
• The notary should have seen the signature being affixed on a document at a prior time first. Also, the document should be retained in the protocol file of the notary.
• The continued existence of the signatory should be checked by the notary from time to time.
• In a case where the signatory is a representative of a company or an organisation, the notary must check the continued authority at regular intervals of time.
• At the time of verification, the notary must take steps that are needed and are reasonable to check and make sure that the document is indeed signed by the signatory. There are no strict guidelines that elaborate on the measures to be taken. The decision-making authority lies with the notary.
• There will be an unequivocal certificate, and it can in no way, directly or indirectly say that the notary was present during the signing. It should be made clear that although the notary certifies the authenticity of the signature, it has not been done in the presence of the notary. Maximum transparency is expected in such cases.
There is more to it. A notary also has the liberty to refuse to certify your document. This is usually the case when the authentication of a document requires full attestation by a notary at any cost. Many relevant documents have this as a formal process which is the reason a notary can’t help you in a case like this.