What if I need to have something notarized?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created December 2019

Sometimes you need to get a document "notarized".

Getting a document notarized means:

  1. you sign the document in front of a notary public,
  2. that you have shown the notary proof of who you are, and
  3. you are signing voluntarily.

Important

  • A notary public is not same thing as the Spanish “notario”.
  • A notary public is not a lawyer.
  • It is against the law for a notary public to give legal advice.

How do I find a notary?

You can find a notary public in:

  • city and town clerks’ offices, 
  • courts,
  • local banks,
  • real estate, insurance or law offices,
  • travel agencies,
  • at your local drug store or pharmacy, or
  • in the phonebook.

You do not have to be a client of the bank or office to use a notary public. 1

What do I need to give to the notary?

  • The documents you need notarized, and
  • Proof of your identity.

Only sign the documents when the notary tells you to.

The notary needs to check:

  • your identity, and  
  • that you are signing the document of your own free will.

For proof of identity, you can use a Massachusetts I.D. card, driver's license, passport, or other government-issued photo I.D.

How much does it cost?

It costs $1.25 to have a document notarized.

Notaries may charge no more than $1.25 for each signature.2

What if the notary says it costs more?

A notary should not charge more than $1.25 for a signature. If a notary says it costs more, call the Governor's Legal Counsel, 617-725-4030.

Note

A notary can witness Massachusetts or out-of-state documents. But you and the notary must both be in Massachusetts when he or she notarizes your document.

Endnotes

1 . Executive Order 455: Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public.

2 . G.L. c. 262, § 41.

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