The Notary Law Institute

Posted - Jun. 27, 2001 at 12:20 p.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

In the business world, having documents notarized is common practice. Notary publics or notaries as they are often called are needed to ensure that signatures to documents are genuine. Can you imagine entering into a very important business agreement with someone and basing it on a simple signature? Consider the title deed to your home. If it weren't notarized, a crook could write up a phony title deed, forge your signature and have the deed recorded showing he owns your house.

Notarizing documents is an age old tradition. I've heard that it dates back to the Roman Empire. Roman notaries were highly educated individuals in a time when few people could read or write. They were public officials responsible for providing legal assistance, drafting and authenticating documents and keeping the official archives.

As you know, notaries use a stamp to seal their authority on documents. The notion of a seal for authentication purposes is also age old. Seals were used long before written signatures because so many people couldn't read or write.

Well, today, we rely on notaries for many reasons. And because we do, it's important that they get the right training. Peter VanAlstyne agrees. The former director of Utah's Division of Corporations and Commercial Code and chief notary official founded the Notary Law Institute in 1991 with just one goal: "to educate and serve notaries." And he has. So far, Peter has trained over 150,000 notaries with 100 percent approval ratings.

He does so through a series of seminars that he teaches throughout the year. Or students can order his self-study course and study at home at their own pace.

Peter shared some of his teaching philosophy with me. He told me that it is one thing to teach, for example, "that a notary is liable if the document signer is not properly identified." But, he said, it is superior to teach why and how a notary can be held liable for such a thing, and to teach failsafe ways to prevent it.

Well, notaries certainly are valuable to guarantee honest business. Thanks to Peter VanAlstyne and The Notary Law Institute, they'll continue doing just that.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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