We know that getting a document notarized isn’t always easy. While the United States has many notaries, some of them require an appointment and some of them are expensive. It may seem easier to just skip the step and just sign the document. Now, some states require the contract to be notarized and other States are silent on the requirement. You may also encounter Attorneys who insist that the contract be notarized. Whether it is required by the law or the attorneys, we recommend that you always have your contracts notarized.
The reason it is a good idea to have your contract notarized is because when it comes time for you to obtain your Court Order, proving you are a parent to the child being born from the surrogacy, the Court will want and will need proof that the Parties that are in front of them are the Parties that signed the contract. That is exactly what a notary is designed to do.
A notary, sometimes referred to as a notary public, is a person whom the government has licensed/authorized to witness the signing of legal documents. Their presence while you sign is the legal proof that someone else didn’t forge your signature on the document. A notary has a legal duty to confirm and verify the actual identity of the person standing in front of them and then to watch that person sign the document. You don’t want another party to the contract to later state that the contract was not valid because they never signed the contract.
In addition, the notary is assuring that the person signed without duress or intimidation. A notary isn’t just important for your signature but also for the signatures of the other parties to the contract. You do not want the validity of your contract to be questioned because one of the other parties to the contract said they were forced to sign the contract against their will. We always use the example that the person now says that someone held them at gunpoint and forced them to sign. That sounds dramatic but we have seen worst examples in court.
There is also a new trend of “remote notaries”, which are notaries that observe your signing over web came and allow for electronic notarization. Remote notarization is a great mechanism and we believe that someday in the future it will be the only means of notarizing a document. However, for now, not all States in the United States will accept a remote notary. Thus, if you choose to do remote notarization, please make sure that the State that your document will be used in will accept that form of notarization. If the State will accept the remote notarization, you then need to make sure that the company you use is approved by that State.
Thanks to our friends at Surratt Law Practice for their insight into why contracts need to be notarized.