For a Person Who is a Minor
■ May a notary public notarize the signature of a minor?
Generally speaking, we may notarize for a minor; however, all of the requirements of the notary laws must be followed.
■ Is there an age limit?
The notary laws do not limit notarizations based upon a person’s age. The Governor’s Notary Section recommends that the notary public exercises caution when notarizing for a minor. In particular, the notary public should determine whether the minor understands the nature of an oath or acknowledgment before notarizing. For example, a woman recently called our office to ask whether she could notarize the signature of a 5-year-old child. The father wanted to transfer the title of a boat to his child. A child of this young age would probably not understand the transaction. On the other hand, we recently encountered a situation involving a 12-year-old child who wanted to submit a sworn statement to the court regarding an incident that she witnessed. She actually wrote down what she had seen and wanted to sign her statement and swear to it in the presence of a notary. Most likely, a 12-year-old child would understand the act of swearing to the truthfulness of a statement. In these types of situations, the notary should question the child to make sure that he or she understands the nature of an oath or an acknowledgment. The notary should also determine that the child is not being pressured or coerced to sign the document. When a child is too young to comprehend the transaction, a parent sometimes signs on behalf of the child. If the notary public is asked to notarize in that situation, it is the parent’s signature that is to be notarized, not the child’s.
■ What about identification for a minor?
Any time a notary public notarizes a signature, the signer, including a minor, must provide acceptable identification to the notary. The problem, of course, is that most minors do not have one of the forms of acceptable identification listed in “acceptable forms of I.D.” There are two possible solutions. First, you may be interested to know that any person 12 years of age or older may be issued a state identification card. To obtain the card, the person should apply at the local Division of Motor Vehicles office where driver’s licenses are issued. Second, you may use the sworn written statement of “2 credible witness,” to identify the minor.
When asked to notarize the signature of a minor, the notary may refuse to do so if they are unsure about any aspect of the notarization. In unusual situations, we suggest that the minor or his or her parent or guardian see an attorney.