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What is a Notarization?

Notarizing is different than witnessing.

When we notarize a document, we are providing a particular kind of legal service.

For example, you might ask us to:

  • certify something
  • verify your identity
  • put you under oath
  • take your solemn declaration
  • provide an officer certification for BC Land title documents

If a document needs to be notarized, you will usually see a spot on it for the notary to fill in and sign. If you do not see such a spot on your document, or your document only asks for a witness, it may not need to be notarized.

When you come to have us notarize a document, we will ask you to sign a "No Legal Advice" waiver - confirming for us that you have completely and properly filled out the document, and that you do not want or require legal advice. While we are happy to give you legal advice in our practice areas, sometimes all you need is a notarization.

What kinds of documents do you notarize?

Some examples of documents you might need notarized include:

  • Authentications
  • Authorizations for minors to travel outside of Canada
  • Certified true copies
  • Insurance Loss Declarations
  • International Documents
  • Invitation letters for foreign visitors to Canada
  • Passport documents
  • Statutory Declarations
  • "Still Alive" Declarations
  • Wills Notice Searches
  • Rights of way, easements and covenants

If your document requires a notarization, it will usually have some kind of spot for the notary to complete and sign.

If you are not sure whether your document requires a notarization, ask the people who sent you the document. Get instructions in writing, and a phone call for us to call when you come to see us.

You can also send us the document ahead of your appointment and we will review it to determine if it requires notarization.

Are there things you cannot notarize?

Yes. We don't generally act as witness (unless we have made the document ourselves at your instruction). Witnessing is when you ask someone to watch you sign a document.

There must be a notarial function involved with the document in order for us to sign the document.

If there is no notarial function, we cannot sign the document, even as a witness.

If you aren't sure whether we can notarize your document, please call us so we can determine whether we can help you.

Examples of documents that do not have a notarial function (and therefore do not require a notary's signature) include:

  • witnessing homemade Wills or other estate planning documents
  • signing personal letters
  • witnessing promissory notes

If you just need a witness, then you can usually use any person - check with the place where you got your documents and ask them who can act as witness for you.

Contact us for more information.