Notaries are important for our society and there are many things a notary can do.

However, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what “notarization” does for a document.

A notary signature, seal and stamp is only proof of the validity of the signatures of the persons who signed the document. A notary’s signature does not mean that the document is valid or is in appropriate legal format. Although notaries are required to go through training before their commission is issued, sometimes notaries do place their signatures on documents which are not prepared appropriately. Many notaries will place a disclaimer on the document such as “document not examined by notary” or “notarization as to signatures only.” If your document has such a disclaimer, please have it reviewed by my office or by any other attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana. It may be that the document needs to be re-done.

In my office, because I am held to the standard of having read and reviewed the document I notarize, I will not notarize documents we did not prepare. If in doubt, please have the document reviewed as soon as possible.