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Idaho Laws on Notaries Public

The Idaho Notary Public Act lays down the laws relating to notaries public in Idaho.  Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-103, the secretary of state appoints in and for the state of Idaho as many notaries public as s/he deems necessary.  Each notary public so appointed serves for a term of six years.  A notary public may be reappointed upon submission of a new application not earlier than 90 days prior to the expiration of his or her term.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-104, each person appointed and commissioned as a notary public:

1) Must be at least 18 years of age;
2) Must be a resident of the state of Idaho or a nonresident who is employed in or doing business in the state of Idaho;
3) Must be able to read and write the English language; and
4) Must not have been removed from the office of notary public for official misconduct nor have been convicted of a serious crime, within the 10 year period immediately preceding his or her appointment nor be serving a sentence for conviction of a serious crime, without regard to when convicted.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-105, each person to be appointed a notary public must submit an application to the secretary of state on a form prescribed by the secretary of state.  The applicant must also take an oath, which shall appear on the application form.  The oath must be signed and sworn to (or affirmed) by the applicant in the presence of a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths in Idaho.  Each person to be appointed a notary public shall execute and append to the application a bond to the state of Idaho in the amount of $ 10,000.  The surety which provides the bond shall be:

1) A bonding or surety company authorized to do business in Idaho; or
2) The bureau of risk management for the state of Idaho if the applicant is regularly employed by the state and the commission is required in the scope of that employment.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-106, each notary public must provide and keep an official seal which shall conform to one of the following configurations:

1) A seal embosser engraved with the words “Notary Public,” the notary public’s name, and the words “State of Idaho.”
2) A rubber stamp with a serrated or milled edge border in rectangular or circular form, which contains the same information required for the seal embosser.

Each notary public must provide and keep an official seal which shall be a rubber stamp with a serrated or milled edge border in a rectangular or circular form, which includes the words “Notary Public,” the notary public’s name, the words “State of Idaho,” and nothing more.  The seal must be impressed below or near the notary public’s official signature on each notary certificate which s/he administers.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-107, each notary public is empowered to:

1) Take acknowledgments;
2) Administer oaths and affirmations;
3) Certify that a copy of an original document is a true copy thereof, only if a certified copy of such original cannot be obtained from an official custodian of such document;
4) Certify affidavits (to include verifications) or depositions of witnesses;
5) Certify the affixation of a signature by mark on an instrument presented for notarization if:

(i) The signer is unable to handwrite the signer’s name;
(ii) The mark is affixed in the presence of the notary in a manner which the notary can directly observe;
(iii) The notary writes below the mark the following: “Mark affixed by (printed name of signer by mark).”; and
(iv) The notary public notarizes the signature by mark through a certificate of acknowledgment or verification;

6) A notary may sign the name of a person physically unable to sign or sign by mark on a document presented for notarization if:

(i) The person directs the notary to do so in the presence of a witness unaffected by the instrument;
(ii) The notary signs the person’s name in the presence of the person and the witness;
(iii) The witness signs the instrument beside the signature;
(iv) The notary writes below the signature the following: “Signature affixed by notary in the presence of (name of person and witness)”; and
(v) The notary notarizes the signature through a certificate of acknowledgment or verification[i].

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-108, a notary public who has a disqualifying interest,  in a transaction may not legally perform any notarial act in connection with the transaction.  A notary public has a disqualifying interest in a transaction in connection with which notarial services are requested if s/he is named as a party to the transaction or shares the same beneficial interest as a party to the transaction.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-110, a notary public may, for any notarial act, charge a fee not to exceed $2.00.  In addition to the fee, a notary public may be compensated for actual and reasonable expense of travel to a place where a notarial act is to be performed.  An employer must not require a notary public in his or her employment to surrender to him or her fee, if charged, or any part thereof.  An employer may, however, preclude such notary public from charging a fee for a notarial act performed in the scope of his or her employment.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-111, each notary public must exercise reasonable care in the performance of his or her duties generally, and must exercise a high degree of care in ascertaining the identity of any person whose identity is the subject of a notarial act.  Any notary public whose name or residence changes during his or her term of office shall within 60 days after such change submit written notice thereof to the secretary of state.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-112, official misconduct is the wrongful exercise of a power or the wrongful performance of a duty.  In this context, wrongful shall mean unauthorized, unlawful, abusive, negligent, or reckless. Official misconduct by a notary public shall include, but not be limited to:

1) Engaging in any fraudulent or deceptive conduct which is related in any way to his or her capacity as a notary public;
2) Failure to exercise the required degree of care in identifying a person whose identity is an essential element of a notarial act;
3) Representing or implying by the use of his title that s/he has qualifications, powers, duties, rights, or privileges that by the law s/he does not possess;
4) Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law;
5) Charging a fee for a notarial act which is in excess of that provided by section 51-110, Idaho Code; or

6) Endorsing or promoting any product, service, contest or other offering if the notary public’s title or seal is used in the endorsement or promotional statement.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-113, a notary public may be removed from the office upon any of the following grounds:

1) Conviction of a serious crime within the immediately preceding 10 year period;
2) Any action which constitutes official misconduct;
3) Any material misstatement of fact in his or her application for appointment as a notary public;
4) Failure of a conservator or guardian to submit a timely resignation after a notary public becomes incompetent;
5) Failure of a notary public to submit a timely resignation when s/he becomes disqualified by virtue of no longer: (1) being a citizen of the United States; or (2) being a resident of Idaho;
6) Cancellation of the notary bond by the bonding or surety company; or
7) Cancellation of the notary bond by the state of Idaho when the notary public’s bond has been provided by the bureau of risk management of the state of Idaho and the notary’s employment with the state is terminated.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-114, if a notary public is convicted of a serious crime in any court of Idaho, the clerk of the court, if s/he knows that the convict is a notary public or upon the request of any person, must forward to the secretary of state a certified copy of the judgment of conviction.  If a notary public is convicted of a serious crime in a federal court or a court of another state, any person may obtain a certified copy of the judgment of conviction and forward it to the secretary of state.  Upon receipt of a certified copy of a judgment of conviction of a serious crime in the preceding ten year period, the secretary of state shall forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.  If in any civil or criminal case the court finds that a notary public has committed any act which constitutes official misconduct under section 51-112, Idaho Code, the clerk of the court, upon the request of any person, must forward a certified copy of the findings of fact, or relevant extract therefrom, to the secretary of state.  Upon receipt of the certified copy of the findings of fact or extract therefrom the secretary of state shall, if s/he finds that the act of the notary public as found by the court constitutes official misconduct, forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.  Upon receipt of proof on the public record of a material misstatement of fact in the application of a notary public, certified by the custodian of such record, the secretary of state shall forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.  If the conservator or guardian of a notary public who has been adjudged incompetent fails to submit a timely resignation as required by subsection (3) of section 51-115, Idaho Code, the clerk of the court which found the notary public to be incompetent shall, upon the request of any person, forward to the secretary of state a certified copy of the order adjudging the notary to be incompetent.  Upon receipt of such order, the secretary of state shall forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.

If the secretary of state receives credible information that a notary public is no longer a resident of Idaho or employed in or doing business in the state of Idaho, the secretary of state shall send to the notary public at his or her last known address by certified return receipt mail a statement setting forth such information and a notice of opportunity to rebut.  If the statement and notice cannot be delivered or if rebuttal is not received within 45 days after mailing the notice, the secretary of state must cancel the commission of the notary public.  If the statement is rebutted by statements which indicate that the notary public is not disqualified on residency business, or employment grounds, the secretary of state shall take no further action[ii].

Idaho Code § 51-114 provides that a bonding or surety company, or in the case of a state employee, the bureau of risk management, shall file prompt written notice of cancellation of a notary’s bond with the secretary of state who shall forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.  The cancellation of the bond shall be effective only upon receipt by the secretary of state of notice of cancellation.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-115, a notary public may voluntarily resign by mailing or delivering to the secretary of state a letter of resignation.  Any notary public who becomes ineligible to hold such office for any reason must within 30 days thereafter resign by mailing or delivering to the secretary of state a letter of resignation.  If a notary public becomes incompetent, his or her conservator or guardian must within 30 days after the finding of incompetency mail or deliver to the secretary of state a letter of resignation on behalf of the notary public.  If a notary public dies in office, his or her personal representative must within 30 days thereafter mail or deliver to the secretary of state notice thereof.  Upon receipt of a letter of resignation or notice of death, the secretary of state must forthwith cancel the commission of the notary public.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-116, whenever the secretary of state is required by the provisions of sections 51-114 and 51-115, Idaho Code, to cancel the commission of a notary public, s/he must:

1) Mark the notary public’s record “cancelled” and append thereto the supporting document; and
2) Mail written notice to the resigned or removed notary public or to the conservator, guardian, or personal representative, as appropriate, instructing him or her to destroy the notary public commission and seal.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-117, the following conditions invalidate the notarial act:

1) Failure of the notary public to require a person whose acknowledgment is taken to personally appear before him or her;
2) Failure of the notary public to administer an oath or affirmation when the notary certificate indicates that s/he has administered it;
3) As to only the notary public who performs the notarial act and any party who shares the same beneficial interest in the transaction, the existence of a disqualifying interest.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-118, a notary public is liable for all damages proximately caused by his or her official misconduct.  The employer of a notary public is jointly and severally liable with such notary public for all damages proximately caused by the official misconduct of such notary public if:

1) The notary public was acting within the scope of his or her employment; and
2) The employer had actual knowledge of, or reasonably should have known of, the notary public’s official misconduct.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-119, any notary public who knowingly and willfully commits an act of official misconduct under the provisions of section 51-112, Idaho Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.  Any employer of a notary public who willfully induces such notary public to commit an act of official misconduct under the provisions of section 51-112, Idaho Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.  Any person who shall willfully act as or otherwise impersonate a notary public while not lawfully commissioned as such nor otherwise officially authorized to perform notarial acts is guilty of a misdemeanor.  Any person who shall steal or wrongfully possesses a notary public’s seal with the intent to use it in the commission of any crime is guilty of a felony.

[i] Idaho Code § 51-107.

[ii] Idaho Code § 51-114.


Inside Idaho Laws on Notaries Public