If you are looking for a way to serve your community, earn extra income, or enhance your resume, become a notary public in Massachusetts might be a good option for you.
A notary public is a public official who performs various official acts such as witnessing signatures, administering oaths, and verifying the identity of document signers. Notaries public play an important role in preventing fraud and ensuring the validity of legal documents.
But how do you become a notary public in Massachusetts? What are the requirements, fees, and steps involved?
In this blog post, I will answer these questions and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to become a notary in Massachusetts.
Let’s get started!
Related: How to Become a Notary in Missouri
Step 1: Check the Eligibility Requirements
Before you apply to become a notary public in Massachusetts, you need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements set by the state. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside or have a regular place of work or business in Massachusetts
- Be able to read and write English
- Have a good moral character
- Have no criminal record that would affect your ability to perform your duties as a notary
If you meet these criteria, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Complete the Application Form
The next step is to complete the application form for becoming a notary public in Massachusetts. You can download the form from the Secretary of State’s website or request it by mail. The form requires you to provide some personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, and social security number. You also need to attach an up-to-date resume that shows your education and work experience.
The application form also requires you to obtain four signatures from known and respected members of your community who can vouch for your character and qualifications. One of these signatures must be from a Massachusetts attorney who is in good standing with the state bar. The other three signatures can be from any reputable persons who are not related to you or employed by you.
Additionally, you need to read Chapter 222 of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 289 of the Acts of 2016, which governs the standards of conduct for notaries public in Massachusetts. You need to agree to comply with all of its terms and conditions by signing a statement on the application form.
Step 3: Get Your Application Notarized and Endorsed
After you fill out the application form and obtain the required signatures, you need to get your application notarized by another notary public. This means that you need to present your application form and a valid photo ID to a notary public who will verify your identity and witness your signature. The notary public will then sign and seal your application form.
You also need to get your application endorsed by the Governor’s Council, which is a body of eight elected officials who advise and consent to the Governor’s appointments. The Governor’s Council meets every Wednesday at noon at the State House in Boston. You need to bring your original application form and two copies to one of these meetings and ask one of the councilors to endorse your application. You can find out more about the Governor’s Council and their contact information on their website.
Step 4: Pay the Commission Fee
Once your application is approved by the Governor and the Governor’s Council, you will receive a notification from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. You will then need to pay a commission fee of $60 to complete your appointment as a notary public. You can pay this fee online using a credit card or electronic check on the Secretary of State’s website. You can also pay by mail using a check or money order made payable to “Commonwealth of Massachusetts”. You need to include your name and commission number on your payment.
Step 5: Buy Your Notary Seal and Journal
After you pay the commission fee, you will receive your commission certificate from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This certificate shows your name, commission number, expiration date, and signature. You need to keep this certificate safe and secure as it proves your authority as a notary public.
You also need to buy two essential tools for performing your notarial duties: a notary seal and a journal. A notary seal is a device that imprints an official mark on documents that you notarize. A journal is a record book that contains entries of all the notarial acts that you perform. These tools help you comply with the state laws and protect yourself from liability.
You can buy your notary seal and journal from various online vendors or local office supply stores. However, make sure that they meet the specifications set by the state laws. According to Chapter 222 of the General Laws, your notary seal must:
- Be either an ink stamp or an embosser
- Contain your name, commission number, and expiration date
- Have a circular shape with a diameter of at least 1.5 inches
- Have a serrated or milled edge border
Your notary journal must:
- Be either a bound book or an electronic format
- Have numbered pages
- Contain entries of the date, time, type, and fee of each notarial act
- Contain the name, address, and signature of each signer or affiant
- Contain the type and number of identification document presented by each signer or affiant
- Contain a description of the document notarized
You need to keep your notary seal and journal in a secure place and use them only for your notarial acts. You also need to update your journal regularly and transfer your electronic entries to the Secretary of State every month.
Step 6: Take the Oath of Office
The final step to become a notary public in Massachusetts is to take the oath of office. This is a solemn promise that you make to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and Massachusetts and to perform your duties faithfully and impartially. You need to take the oath of office within three months of receiving your commission certificate.
You can take the oath of office at any court in Massachusetts. You need to bring your commission certificate and a photo ID to the court clerk and ask to be sworn in as a notary public. The court clerk will administer the oath of office and sign and seal your commission certificate. You will then receive a copy of your commission certificate with the court seal.
You can also take the oath of office at the Secretary of State’s office in Boston. You need to make an appointment online on their website and bring your commission certificate and a photo ID to the office. The staff will administer the oath of office and sign and seal your commission certificate. You will then receive a copy of your commission certificate with the state seal.
Related: How to Become a Notary in Michigan
You have now completed all the steps to become a notary public in Massachusetts. You are ready to start serving your community as an impartial witness and protector of important transactions. As a notary public, you have various responsibilities and obligations that you need to follow. You also have various opportunities and benefits that you can enjoy. Here are some tips and resources to help you succeed as a notary public in Massachusetts:
- Keep yourself updated on the state laws and best practices for notaries public. You can find useful information on the Secretary of State’s website or join professional associations such as the Massachusetts Society of Notaries or the National Notary Association.
- Market yourself as a notary public and find clients who need your services. You can advertise online, in local newspapers, or on social media. You can also register on directories such as Notary Rotary or 123notary.com.
- Charge reasonable fees for your notarial services. In Massachusetts, there are no set fees for most notarial acts, except for protests ($1.25). You can charge any fee that you feel is fair, but make sure that you disclose it to your clients in advance.
- Maintain your professionalism and integrity as a notary public. Always follow the state laws and ethical standards for notaries public. Avoid conflicts of interest, fraud, or misconduct. Protect your clients’ privacy and confidentiality.
- Renew your commission every seven years. Your commission as a notary public expires seven years from the date you took the oath of office. To renew your commission, you need to complete the same steps as applying for a new commission.
I hope this blog post has helped you understand how to become a notary in Massachusetts. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!