Louisiana notaries are different than notaries in other states. We work under a different set of rules and have much greater powers. Here we provide you with some of the most common questions or misunderstandings we get every week.
Did you know that many Louisiana attorneys do much of their work in the capacity of notary public? It’s true. Every time your attorney puts his or her seal on a document, they are acting in their power as a notary public. Attorneys are not automatically notaries, but good standing with the state bar allows them to apply to be a notary without having to take the notary exam. Notaries are analogous to nurse practitioners, they have many of the same powers as attorneys. Thus in Louisiana it is hard and expensive to become a notary.
License Plates! And Weddings? Don’t confuse a notary with a title company or justice of the peace. The Office of Motor Vehicles allows title companies to act as mini-DMV offices where they can give you a “hard-plate” for your car for a steep additional convenience fee on top of normal fees. Also, notaries cannot perform weddings. This power is reserved to ministers, judges and justices of the peace.
What is your seal? Under Louisiana law, a notary’s seal is their signature. The Secretary of State regulates notaries and also requires that we put our notary ID or bar roll number on each document we sign. The mechanical embosser, which places the state seal on the document, is customarily used to determine if the document is original (not a copy) and it is not required for in-state transactions (though try telling that to your bank!)
Do you work for a bank or government? No. Unlike some states, notaries that work for the general public are not generally found in banks, post offices or courthouses. Louisiana notaries do not work for the government, but work for themselves or private companies. This is why notaries have to charge for their services (someone has to pay the light bill). They provide a professional service and can set their own hours, locations and prices, just like a doctor or lawyer.
We hope that help shine a little light on the office of Notary Public for you. For more information, visit the Secretary of State.