New York Notary Public

New York Notary Public laws and requirements are somewhat difficult to decipher. I expect this is intentionally so. However, after having read the statute and reduced it to it's basics, the reading of the statutes is more difficult than the basic requirements.

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements to be a New York Notary Public are these:

*Be a resident of the state of have a business in the state of New York;

*Satisfactorily show you are of good character; and

*Pass a written exam.

That's it! Unfortunately the statute does not make this clear and clouds the requirements with several ways you can removed from office.

Noticeably missing is an age requirement.

Disqualifications

The New york statute spends much time on the disqualifications. Basically, a New York notary public may be disqualified for the following reasons:

1. Holding the office of Sheriff. The courts have determined that a statutory provision stating that a Sheriff may hold no other office means that the Sheriff cannot become a notary.

2. Persons convicted of certain felonies. This is another oddity of the statute. The convictions are specifically listed and include:

(a) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;

(b) making or possessing burglar's instruments;

(c) buying or receiving or criminally possessing stolen property;

(d) unlawful entry of a building;

(e) aiding escape from prison;

(f) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit forming narcotic drugs;

(g) violating §§270, 270-a, 270-b, 270-c, 271, 275, 276, 550, 551, 551-a and subdivisions 6, 8, 10 or 11 of § 722 of the former Penal Law as in force and effect immediately prior to September 1, 1967, or violating §§ 165.25, 165.30, subdivision 1 of § 240.30, subdivision 3 of § 240.35 of the Penal Law, or violating §§478, 479, 480, 481, 484, 489 and 491 of the Judiciary Law (I am not going to explain all these, if you have violated any of these statutes, I am sure you know it...); or

(h) vagrancy or prostitution.

OK, you make sense of this list. Why these specific felonies and not all felonies? It makes for a great set of questions on the New York Notary exam, but I can only guess as to why the legislature included these felonies an no other.

Other Information

Attorneys can apply for a notary commission without having to take the notary exam. They simply need to apply and pay the fees.

New York law also allows for the appointment of Commissioners of Deeds. These commissioners have authority similar to notaries but their authority is generally limited to the city of appointment. The process of getting a Commissioner of Deeds appointment is considered easier and cheaper than getting a notary appointment, although a test is still required. As best I can tell, these appointments are mostly used by political party officials to certify signatures on petitions.

Differences

New York Notaries are empowered to perform some interesting tasks that other jurisdictions do not allow. These include:

1) Demand acceptance or payment of foreign and inland Bills of Exchange, promissory notes and other written obligations;

2) Witness the opening and catalog the contents of a safe deposit box;

3) Administer oaths, including the oath of office; and

4) Receive and certify acknowledgments or proof of deeds, mortgages and powers of attorney and other instruments in writing.

New York Notaries may not:

1) Certify copies of documents;

2) Solemnize marriages;

3) Notarize a last will and testament. Oddly enough, this is specifically mentioned in the statute.

Notary Stamp Not Required

Notary Stamps are not required for the notarial act to be completed. New York law does require the following language to accompany the signature of the notary:

"Notary Name

Notary Public, State of New York

Qualified in Bronx County

No. 12345

My commission expires January 1, 20...."

This should be in writing and in black ink or by using a black stamp.

Terms and Fees

New York Notaries are appointed for a term of 4 years.

You cannot access the application on line. You must contact the Secretary of States office and request the application be mailed to you. The New York notary statute and contact information can be found here.

FEES: The fees a notary can charge are $2.00 per notarial act and $2.00 for swearing a witness.