What if I need to have something notarized?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed February 2022

Sometimes you need to get a document "notarized".

Getting a document notarized means:

  1. you sign the document in front of a notary public,
  2. that you have shown the notary proof of who you are, and
  3. you are signing voluntarily.

Important

  • A notary public is not same thing as the Spanish “notario”.
  • A notary public is not a lawyer.
  • It is against the law for a notary public to give legal advice.

How do I find a notary?

You can find a notary public in:

  • city and town clerks’ offices, 
  • courts,
  • local banks,
  • real estate, insurance or law offices,
  • travel agencies,
  • at your local drug store or pharmacy, or
  • in the phonebook.

You do not have to be a client of the bank or office to use a notary public. 1 You may have to make an appointment.

What do I need to give to the notary?

  • The documents you need notarized, and
  • Proof of your identity.

Only sign the documents when the notary tells you to.

The notary needs to check:

  • your identity, and  
  • that you are signing the document of your own free will.

For proof of identity, you can use a Massachusetts I.D. card, driver's license, passport, or other government-issued photo I.D.

How much does it cost?

Massachusetts does not limit the fee notaries can charge to witness and notarize your signature. Many notaries wll notarize your signature for free, but some places like UPS stores may charge you up to $10. Sometimes they charge more if you do not make an appointment. So, phone ahead or check their website. 

Note

A notary can witness Massachusetts or out-of-state documents. But you and the notary must both be in Massachusetts when they notarize your document.

Endnotes

1 . Executive Order 455: Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public.

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