Notaries cannot function as Attorneys
“What should I do?” is a common question asked. Usually the client wanting “how should I proceed” type of advice, has a legal or procedural issue to resolve. Notaries are forbidden to engage in the illegal practice of law. Giving “what to do” is considered legal advice. As a http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com – my answer is always to consult a lawyer. Sometimes I think I know the solution to their problem – but not having legal training, and not having reviewed their case history – it would be just a guess. And an illegal guess at that.
“What am I required to submit” is another common question. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is often my answer. It is the recipient of the document who determines what they will accept. It might be a standard notarization, or perhaps an Apostille; sometimes Embassy Legalization is required. The type of service demanded by the ultimate recipient of the document sets the requirements for my processing – something I cannot do. I have a redo or refund policy on all the work that I do. However, it is limited to meeting the “request” of my client – I cannot determine their needs. Thus, I often suggest professional legal advice.
One good example where the greater training of the Attorney, compared to the Notary is the processing of wills. In New York State, an Attorney is required to notarize the signature of the “Principal” of a will; the person who the will is for. There is a procedure to bypass this requirement – the New York State will format with the Attestation Section (whereby I only notarize the signatures of 2 or 3 witnesses), who in turn state that they witnessed the Principal signing the will. However, it is always my advice to contact an attorney whenever a will is being prepared and not bypass the “spirit” of the law.
I, http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com receive many telephone requests for legal advice. Being unable to respond directly – I often suggest visiting a local political office where many on the staff are “beginning” attorneys. Generally, their advice is free. One example of the firm prohibition of notaries “playing lawyer” is the (in New York State) prohibition of notaries’ from using the term “Notario Publico” – a much “higher” political officer in many Latin America countries. I can assist with many issues directly related to preparing for notarization. However, the “what should I do”, “what is needed”, “how shall I proceed” questions must be resolved elsewhere. The illegal practice of Law is a serious offense. Not only would I be in serious trouble – you might proceed on a costly and error prone path. When in doubt consult an Attorney.