What is a Notary Public in Alabama?
If you’re wondering what a notary public is and what they do, you’re not alone. A notary public in Alabama is a public officer appointed by the Secretary of State, who is authorized to witness and authenticate legal documents and transactions. Notaries public play a crucial role in our legal system by ensuring the authenticity of documents and by verifying the identity of the parties involved in a transaction.
Notaries public in Alabama have a number of duties and responsibilities, including:
- Taking acknowledgments
- Administering oaths and affirmations
- Certifying the authenticity of a signature on a document
Notaries public are often required for a variety of legal transactions, such as real estate transactions, loan agreements, and wills. In order to become a notary public in Alabama, individuals must meet certain requirements and follow a specific process.
Requirements for Becoming a Notary in Alabama
Becoming a notary in Alabama is a straightforward process, and it starts with ensuring that you meet the eligibility requirements. Firstly, you must be at least 18 years old or above, and you must also be a legal resident of Alabama. Additionally, you should have no felony convictions against you, or any convictions of moral turpitude that could bar you from becoming a notary. You must also have a clean background record that passes a background screening examination.
For individuals interested in becoming a notary in Alabama, you should first have a basic understanding of how the process works and what the requirements are. The application fee is currently $25, and it must be paid and included with your application. The application process also requires you to submit your fingerprints and undergo a background check. This process can take several weeks, depending on the number of applications, and the screening process can take time.
It is also important to note that notary publics in Alabama are commissioned by the Probate Judge in the county where they reside. The notary public’s commission is valid for four years, after which a renewal application must be completed. The renewal fee is $20, which is cheaper than the initial application fee.
Additionally, it is recommended that potential notaries review the Alabama Notary Public Handbook, which contains information on the duties of a notary public, guidelines, and other important information to ensure they are adequately prepared for the duties and responsibilities involved.
Overall, the requirements for becoming a notary public in Alabama are relatively straightforward and can be easily met as long as individuals meet the eligibility requirements and follow the application guidelines.
Steps to Become a Notary in Alabama
If you’re interested in becoming a notary in Alabama, there are a few steps that you’ll need to take. One of those steps is obtaining a $25,000 notary bond, as this is required by the state. But that’s just the beginning.
The next step is to complete an application with the state of Alabama, which can be done online. The application will typically ask for information about your personal background, as well as your education and work history. Once you’ve completed the application and submitted it, you’ll likely be required to provide proof of your identity and residence, which could include things like a driver’s license or utility bill.
After your application has been approved, it will be time to purchase your notary seal. This is an important tool that you’ll use to notarize documents, so it’s crucial that you get the right one. Depending on where you live in Alabama, you might be able to purchase a notary seal at a local office supply store or online. Be sure to compare different options to find the one that’s best for your needs.
Finally, once you have your notary bond, completed application, and notary seal, you’ll need to record your commission with the probate court in your county. This is essentially the final step in the application process, and it means that you’ll be officially recognized as a notary public in the state of Alabama.
The process of becoming a notary in Alabama might seem a little overwhelming at first, but it’s actually relatively straightforward. By following these steps and completing all of the necessary requirements, you’ll be well on your way to a career as a notary public.
Maintaining Your Alabama Notary Commission
After successfully becoming an Alabama notary public, it’s important to maintain your commission to continue offering your services legally. Here are some key steps to ensure you’re maintaining your Alabama notary commission:
- Keep Your Notary Bond Current:
Every Alabama notary public must purchase and maintain a $25,000 surety bond to protect the public in case they suffer any losses due to a notary’s misconduct. The bond is valid for the entire four-year commission term, but it’s important to keep up with the payments so that there’s no gap in coverage. If the bond expires or gets canceled before its expiration date, you must immediately replace it to avoid any legal issues.
- Renew Your Commission Every Four Years:
Alabama notary commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance. To renew your commission, you must submit a renewal application to the Secretary of State’s office at least 40 days before your commission’s expiration date. You’ll also have to retake the notary exam, provide a current passport-sized photo, and get your bond renewed if it has expired.
- Continue to Follow the Laws and Regulations:
Notary publics in Alabama must continue to follow the state’s laws and regulations for the entire period of their commission. For example, you must always use your official notary seal on notarized documents and never provide legal advice or representation. Notaries must also keep a record of every notarization they perform, including the date, time, location, and names of the parties involved. Notaries are required to maintain this record for five years after the notarization date.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you’re maintaining your Alabama notary commission and offering your services with the utmost professionalism and adherence to the law.