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Indiana Laws on Notaries Public

Indiana laws on notaries public can be found in Article 42, Title 33 of Indiana code.  Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-1-1, the jurisdiction of a notary public qualified in Indiana is co-extensive with the limits of Indiana.  However, a notary may not be compelled to act out of the limits of the county in which the notary public resides.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-1, an applicant for a commission as a notary public must be:

1) at least 18 years of age; and
2) a legal resident of Indiana.

A notary public is appointed and commissioned by the governor. A notary public holds office for 8 years.  A notary public, when so qualified, may act throughout Indiana.  An applicant must submit an application to the secretary of state, prescribed by the secretary of state person may request an application to become a notary public from the secretary of state.  The application form must include the applicant’s county of residence, oath of office, and official bond.  The applicant must:

1) personally appear with an application form before an officer, authorized by law to administer oaths, who shall administer an oath of office to the applicant; or
2) certify on an application form under penalty of perjury that the applicant will abide by the terms of the oath.

The applicant must secure an official bond, with freehold or corporate security, to be approved by the secretary of state in the sum of $5,000.  The official bond must be conditioned upon the faithful performance and discharge of the duties of the office of notary public, in all things according to law, for the use of any person injured by a breach of the condition.  The completed application must be forwarded to the secretary of state.  The secretary of state shall forward each commission issued by the governor to the applicant or the applicant’s surety company.  The secretary of state charges and collects the following fees:

1) For each commission to notaries public, $5.
2) For each duplicate commission to notaries public, $5[i].

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-2, a notary public may not do any of the following:

1) Use any other name or initial in signing acknowledgments, other than that by which the notary has been commissioned.
2) Acknowledge any instrument in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction.
3) Take the acknowledgment of or administer an oath to any person whom the notary actually knows:

      (i) has been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court; and
      (ii) to be under a guardianship under IC 29-3 at the time the notary takes the acknowledgment or administers the oath.

4) Take the acknowledgment of any person who is blind, without first reading the instrument to the blind person.
5) Take the acknowledgment of any person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the instrument to be notarized is translated into a language which the person does speak or understand.
6) Acknowledge the execution of:

      (i) an affidavit, unless the affiant acknowledges the truth of the statements in the affidavit; or
      (iii) an instrument, unless the person who executed the instrument:

         (a) signs the instrument before the notary; or
         (b) affirms to the notary that the signature on the instrument is the person’s own.

If a notary public violates this article, the notary’s appointment may be revoked by the judge of a court with jurisdiction in the county in which the notary resides.  The secretary of state may investigate any possible violation of this section or of section 10 [IC 33-42-2-10] of this chapter (notario publico deception) by a notary public and  revoke the commission of a notary public.  In such circumstance, the notary public may not reapply for a new commission for five years after the revocation.  If a notary public has been convicted of notario publico deception, the notary public may not reapply for a new commission and the judge of a court with jurisdiction in the county in which the notary resides shall permanently revoke the notary’s appointment[ii].

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-4, a notary may not act until the notary has procured a seal that will stamp upon paper a distinct impression, in words or letters, sufficiently indicating the notary’s official character, to which may be added any other device as the notary public may choose.  All notarial acts not attested by a seal are void.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-5, a notary may:

1) do all acts that by common law, and the custom of merchants, notaries are authorized to do;
2) take and certify all acknowledgments of deeds or other instruments of writing required or authorized by law to be acknowledged; and
3) administer oaths generally, and take and certify affidavits and depositions.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-7, person holding lucrative office or appointment may not serve as notary public.  If a person accepts a lucrative office or appointment, the person shall vacate the person’s appointment as a notary.  However, a person who is a public official, or a deputy or appointee acting for or serving under a public official, may not make any charge for services as a notary public in connection with any official business of that office, or of any other office in the governmental unit in which the person serves unless the charges are specifically authorized by a statute other than the statute that establishes generally the fees and charges of notaries public.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-8, upon the request of the clerk of the circuit court of a county, the secretary of state shall furnish to the clerk a list of all commissioned notaries public residing in that county.  Change of name or county of residence during the term of the notary’s commission, must be notified to the secretary of state in writing of the change. 

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-10 applies only to a person who is not an attorney in good standing admitted to practice law in Indiana.  Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-10, a person who knowingly or intentionally:

1) advertises using the notary designation without using the notary disclosure:

      (i) in the advertisement;
      (ii) on the person’s business card; and
      (iii) on the person’s letterhead;

2) advertises or claims to be an expert on immigration matters without being a designated entity as defined under 8 CFR 245a.1(l); or
3) accepts payment in exchange for providing legal advice or any other assistance that requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law;

commits notario publico deception, a Class A misdemeanor.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-3-1, a person commissioned as a notary public by the state must append a true statement of the date of the expiration of the notary’s commission as a notary public to any certificate of acknowledgment of a deed, mortgage, or other instrument or any jurat or other official document at the time the document is signed.  A notary public who omits to make the statement commits a Class C infraction[iii].

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-4-1, the following may subscribe and administer oaths and take acknowledgments of all documents pertaining to all matters where an oath is required:

1) Notaries public.
2) Justices and judges of courts, in their respective jurisdictions.

3) The secretary of state.
4) The clerk of the Supreme Court.
5) Mayors, clerks, clerk-treasurers of towns and cities, and township trustees, in their respective towns, cities, and townships.
6) Clerks of circuit courts and master commissioners, in their respective counties.
7) Judges of United States district courts of Indiana, in their respective jurisdictions.
8) United States commissioners appointed for any United States district court of Indiana, in their respective jurisdictions.
9) A precinct election officer (as defined in IC 3-5-2-40.1) and an absentee voter board member appointed under IC 3-11-10, for any purpose authorized under IC 3.
10) A member of the Indiana election commission, a co-director of the election division, or an employee of the election division under IC 3-6-4.2.
11) County auditors, in their respective counties.
12) Any member of the general assembly anywhere in Indiana.

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-4-2, a person authorized to administer oaths or take acknowledgments who, with intent to defraud:

1)  affixes the person’s signature to a blank form of affidavit or certificate of acknowledgment; and

2)  delivers that form to another person, with intent that it be used as an affidavit or acknowledgment;

commits a Class D felony.

A person who knowingly uses a form that was delivered to the person in violation of section 2 [IC 33-42-4-2] of this chapter commits a Class D felony[iv].

A township trustee may perform any act that a notary public may perform in Indiana.  Acknowledgments to deeds or other instruments taken by a trustee must be recorded as if the acknowledgments had been acknowledged before a notary public[v].  Before a trustee may perform a notarial act, the trustee must obtain a seal that can stamp upon paper a distinct impression that indicates the trustee’s official character, along with any other information that the trustee chooses[vi].  A notarial act of a trustee that is not attested by a seal is void. 

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-5-3, when signing any certificate of acknowledgment, jurat, or other official document, the trustee must append to it the trustee’s date of election as a trustee.  A trustee may not receive a fee for performing a notarial act[vii].  A trustee may not perform an act that is prohibited to a notary public[viii].

Pursuant to Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-6-1, the manager, officers, and employees of a federal land bank association located in Indiana may become and act as a notary public in the business of the association to take acknowledgments of deeds and real estate mortgages and to take and certify affidavits.  A notary public who is a stockholder or an officer of a cemetery association whose rules or constitution prohibit an officer or a stockholder from becoming a beneficiary from the sale of lots by the cemetery association may take acknowledgments of sales of lots[ix].

The maximum fee of a notary public is two dollars ($2) for each notarial act[x].

[i] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-1.

[ii] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-2-2.

[iii] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-3-2.

[iv] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-4-3.

[v] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-5-1.

[vi] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-5-2.

[vii] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-5-4.

[viii] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-5-5.

[ix] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-7-1.

[x] Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 33-42-8-1.

Inside Indiana Laws on Notaries Public