Is a document signed by a notary public a legal document?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a document signed by a notary public a legal document?

A signed document states one party owes another party $5800.

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A notary essentially authenticates the signature of one or more of the parties.  Whether the document is legal (enforceable) depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the creation of the document.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While there are certain documents (e.g. wills) that might have to be witnessed and signed by a notary, as a general matter, notarization does not, by itself, add anything to the enforceability of an agreement.

The issue here whether the party which allegedly owes the money (e.g. borrowed it) signed the document. If it did sign that document, then if the other requirements to form a contract were met--particularly, if there was "consideration," or an exchange of something of value; for example, the party which signed the document borrowed the money, or bought something in exchange for a promissory note, or settled some prior debt by agreeing to pay $5,800--then there would seem to be an enforceable agreement to pay $5,800.

So the issue is not wheter it was notarized or not--it's  whether the agreement is a valid contract. As discussed above, if there was consideration for the debt and the party owing the debt signed it, it most likely is enforceable.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption