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As a notary public, your role is vital in witnessing signatures, verifying identities, and notarizing documents. While providing these essential services, it is crucial to maintain a clear boundary between your responsibilities as a notary and the realm of legal advice. Offering legal advice can lead to serious consequences, jeopardizing your professional reputation and potentially violating the law. Today, let’s explore three key strategies that notaries can employ to steer clear of giving legal advice and ensure a seamless notarization process.

  1. Define Your Role:

The first step in avoiding the pitfall of giving legal advice is to establish a clear understanding of your role as a notary public. Educate your clients about the scope of services you provide and the limitations you must adhere to. Politely but firmly explain that your function is confined to witnessing signatures and notarizing documents, and that you are not licensed to provide legal counsel.

  1. Direct Clients to Legal Professionals:

It is not uncommon for clients to seek guidance on the content or implications of the documents they present for notarization. As tempting as it may be to offer assistance, resist the urge to provide legal advice. Instead, be prepared to offer recommendations for qualified legal professionals who can address their specific concerns effectively.

This is often tricky for notaries with additional training as NSAs or Trust Delivery Agents, however, a good place to draw the line is to provide general information about the purpose of the document without explaining specifics or the implications for the signer.

Remember, lawyers are trained to interpret and explain legal documents, and they possess the necessary expertise to provide tailored advice. By referring clients to legal professionals, you demonstrate your commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

  1. Stay Informed About Notary Laws:

One of the most effective ways to avoid crossing into the realm of legal advice is to stay updated on the laws and regulations governing notary services in your jurisdiction. Familiarize yourself with the specific duties and limitations of notaries in your area, as these may vary from one location to another.

Knowing the legal boundaries of your role as a notary empowers you to handle various situations with confidence. If a client presents a document or request that falls outside your purview, be honest about your limitations and guide them toward the appropriate legal resources.


As a notary public, maintaining professional boundaries and avoiding the provision of legal advice is paramount. By clearly defining your role, directing clients to legal professionals, and staying informed about notary laws, you can uphold the integrity of your position while providing valuable notarization services.

Remember, your primary duty is to act as a neutral and impartial witness, ensuring the authenticity of signatures and documents. Embrace this responsibility, and let your commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct shine through in every notarial transaction. By doing so, you can forge lasting relationships with clients, instill trust in your services, and contribute to the upholding of justice and legality in your community.