Notary Bulletin

What Is… A ‘Notario Publico’?

The term “Notario Publico” causes considerable confusion among members of the public, especially immigrants from Latin nations. In many Hispanic countries, a Notario Publico is a highly trained legal professional who has powers equivalent to an attorney or a judge.

Though the Spanish-language term directly translates as “Notary” in Latin America, a U.S. Notary has far more limited authority than a Latin American Notario. Many states have strict laws prohibiting Notaries from advertising themselves as a Notario Publico unless they also are an attorney or requiring Notaries to run a disclaimer asserting that they cannot offer legal advice. This is because immigrants often are exploited by unscrupulous people who use this title to pretend to offer legal services.

You should never advertise yourself as a Notario or other foreign-language translation of “Notary.” Doing so could lead to a lawsuit or criminal penalties.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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