Notary Bulletin

What Is ... Beneficial Interest?

Beneficial interest is a situation that arises when a document you’re asked to notarize would give you some kind of improper benefit beyond the standard notarization fee. Usually this is financial, but it can be any sort of gain or advantage.

Notarizing a document that would transfer ownership of a car or home to you are obvious cases of beneficial interest. However, notarizing a document that gives your family free tickets to a baseball game would be beneficial interest as well.

Even if not spelled out directly in state law, the NNA recommends that you do not notarize any document that gives you a beneficial interest. That includes potential benefits, including inheritances. Both potential and actual beneficial interest can be used to challenge a document’s validity in court.

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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.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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