A notary has a disqualifying interest if he/she:
- May receive directly, and as a proximate result of the notarization, any advantage, right, title, interest, cash, or property exceeding the notary fee allowed by law.
- Is named, individually, as a party to the transaction.
Neutral, Unbiased Witness
The notary should maintain a role as a neutral, unbiased official witness to the transaction, and not be a party in the transaction. To remain neutral, and avoid problems, the notary should not notarize documents for family members.
Many businesses employ workplace notaries for the convenience of the business or customers. Workplace notaries are allowed to notarize documents for their employer, but, if they serve customers, they should also serve non-customers.
Notary Public Serves All of the Public
A notary public is a public official, and should not deny notary services because a person is not a customer or client. A person should not be required to buy products or services or open an account as a prerequisite to receiving notary services. That does not maintain neutrality.
A real estate agent that is also a notary should avoid notarizing documents for a transaction where the agent will receive a sales commission when the transaction closes. Another person in the office, such as an assistant, could notarize the documents.
As a public official, a notary should not accept a gift, bonus, tip, gratuity or anything of material value, other than the authorized fee for services rendered. States have gift ban laws or clauses in the state constitution to prevent undue influence of public officials.
Notaries must avoid notarizing in situations where they have a disqualifying interest.
Contact an attorney with any legal questions.