One of the primary roles of a Notary Public is to verify a signer’s identity. So imagine the challenge a notary faces when they arrive at a signing and find that they cannot verify a clients identity. Not having a valid form of identification can lead to delays and sometimes the inability to notarize a document. Often documents that need to be notarized are time sensitive, so these type of delays can be very costly.

Identification can be established by presenting a VALID photo ID. What does “valid” mean? The Secretary of State requires that any approved form of identification must be current or issued within 5 years. The Secretary of State provides a specific list of acceptable methods of identification, which can be found on page 8 of the 2017 Notary Public Handbook.

Some of the most common forms of identification include:

  • Driver’s License
  • USA Passport
  • State issued Identification Card
  • Senior Citizen Identification Card

There is a misconception, that elderly loved ones, who live in a nursing home or skilled healthcare facility, do not need a valid form of identification because they do not drive anymore.  I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take them to your local DMV or SOS to get a Senior Citizen Identification Card while they are still mobile.  Often family members don’t realize the importance of this until there is a need to have legal documentation signed, such as assigning Power of Attorney or establishing a Trust.

In the event circumstances are such that a valid ID cannot be obtained before a document needs to be notarized, 2 disinterested credible witnesses can be used to establish the signer’s identity. When these circumstances arise, it is critical to communicate with the Notary Public so that necessary accommodations can be made according to Secretary of State requirements.