What is a notary public?
A notary is a public official appointed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth for a term of four years. A notary has the power to perform six basic duties: execute acknowledgments, take affidavits, make certificates, take oaths, take depositions and execute protests.
Who can become a notary?
Anyone can apply to be a notary public, but in order to be appointed, you must meet certain requirements. The requirements include:
Be 18 years of age or older
Reside in Pennsylvania for one year preceding appointment
Be registered to vote (Exceptions to this requirement can be granted for religious reasons or resident alien status)
Be of good moral character
Why do we need notaries?
A notary's stamp and seal give authenticity to documents submitted into public record. Although notarization
does not make a document legal, a document with a notary's seals and signature is accepted without question.
Therefore, any major trade or commercial transaction (purchasing a motor vehicle, selling a house,etc.)
needs to be notarized. Notaries also make certified copies of documents.