It is often assumed that a notarization and an attestation refer to the same act; however, this is not the case and there are differences between the two.

The biggest difference is that only a registered legal professional can perform a notarization, whereas an attestation can be performed by anyone. An attestation occurs whenever a person who was not involved in the transaction witnesses the signing of a document by the two parties involved. This person is often referred to as a third party and they must sign a statement afterwards confirming that they saw the two parties sign the document. In some cases, the third party will also verify the content of the documents. Attestations are common and can be provided by anyone and their signature on the document in question would serve as their attestation.

Certain documents, however, require a notary’s signature and this is referred to as a notarization. This is generally the case whenever it comes to high-dollar transactions like the transfer of real estate, for example, which would require the signature of a legal public notary. The act of assuring each of the parties involved in a transaction that the document they are signing is authentic is called notarization and the purpose of this act is to prevent fraud while ensuring that each signer is authentic.

The documents must be signed in person by each of the parties as the notary looks on and the notary will often compare the signature on the documents with that on each party’s identification card to confirm that their signatures are genuine. Notaries also have the responsibility of determining whether or not any of the parties seem to be under duress or seem intimidated. This is a very important step that helps prevent the exploitation of those who are mentally ill, the elderly, victims of human trafficking and anyone who may be from a vulnerable demographic.

It is important to understand the differences between these two legal terms so that you can make the right choice whenever you need to have an important document signed. It is especially important to understand that they are not the same thing, which tends to be a common misconception. If you need a witness to sign a document, an attestation is enough and anyone can do it; however, if you need to ensure that there is no fraud involved and both parties are genuine, then you will need the services of a notary so that they can complete a notarization.

Wendy Fuller Notary Public can help clarify this issue further based on your needs and situation. We offer notary services and will gladly help with your documents, so if you are in the Vancouver area and want to ensure the process is done right, give us a call now!