Myth: All banks will notarize your signature for free.
At least once per week, via Social Media, I see individual requests for signature notarization. 9 times out of 10, those that respond will say, “Just go to your Bank.”
It seems fairly easy, right? Just jump in your car, take a trip to your bank (which may very well be right around the corner), and have your signature notarized on that document.
Now, in certain situations, this task is an easy one. There are banks that, as a normal operation of business, perform this service and perform it gladly for their customers. Few and far between will you find a Bank notary that will notarize signatures for someone who is not a member of that Bank.
However, there are a myriad of situations that may prevent your signatures notarization for FREE or even AT ALL at a Bank or other Financial Institution of your choosing.
Some Banks charge even their OWN members for signature notarization. Yes, I know this because I was once a member of a Bank that charged $2 per notarial act for their services.
Some Banks don’t have notaries on hand. Before you make that special trip to your Financial Institution, place a pre-emptive phone call to make sure they even offer this type of service.
Some Banks have notaries on hand and will only allow their own customers to utilize their services. If you are seeking a Notary Public and you are not a member of the Bank you are visiting, service may be refused. Refusal of Bank Notaries notarizing for signatures for non-members is a whole ‘nother topic.
Some banks will not notarize the signatures of documents that are life estate related. Thinking about writing your Last Will and Testament or drafting your Durable Financial Power of Attorney? Think it through before you present it to your Financial Institution for signature notarization. Due to liability issues, your Bank may say, “No.” The problem with signature notarization on these documents is that if there is an issue with property in probate, or something someone signed (or did not sign) within the document becomes an issue, the Bank notary maybe be pulled away from normal bank activities, costing the Bank time and money for the loss of that employee’s time away from regular banking activities.
Now, by all means, if you can get your signature notarized by your Financial Institution for free, by all means, utilize the service, but please be aware that if someone in Social Media-land is seeking a Notary Public, think twice before referring them to ‘their bank’.
Author: Sonita M. Leak
The Marriage Notary
Owner of GreenvilleNotary.com and WeddingsbySonita.com
Notary Public for the State of South Carolina