Minnesota laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 359 of Code of Minnesota. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.01, resident notaries public in the state of Minnesota is appointed and commissioned by the governor. The governor makes appointments with the advice and consent of the senate. The secretary of state receives applications for appointments and commissions. The secretary must keep a register of appointed notaries and shall update the register when a notary informs him/her of a change in name and address. The secretary receives application for reappointment[i].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.01, in the state of Minnesota, a nonresident can apply for notary. The governor appoints a non resident with the advice and consent of the senate. The applicant must be a resident of Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, or South Dakota. The applicant designates the secretary of state as agent for the service of process for all purposes relating to notarial acts and for receipt of all correspondence relating to notarial acts. The application from a non resident is received by the secretary. The secretary must keep a register of non residents appointed and commissioned as notaries. The secretary must maintain the register by making necessary changes in name and addresses given by notaries[ii].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.01, an applicant must submit along with the application a nonrefundable fee of $120. The secretary of state prepares the application form for a commission. Along with application, the applicant furnishes personal information including relevant civil litigation, occupational license history, and criminal background. The criminal background required to be furnished includes: criminal charges, arrests, indictments, pleas, and convictions. In order to perform electronic notarial acts, a notary public must register the capability to notarize electronically with the secretary of state[iii].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.02., a notary in the state of Minnesota, holds office for five years. A notary can be removed by the governor, the district court, or by action of the commissioner. A notary can apply for reappointment within six months before the expiration of the commission for a new term. Reappointment commences upon the day immediately following the date of the expiration. Moreover, all notary commissions expire on January 31 of the fifth year following the year of issue[iv].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.03, all notaries must keep a seal to authenticate official act. Additionally, all instruments duly made and executed and the seal used under law is validated and legalized. The seal of every notary public is affixed by a stamp. Moreover an electronic seal must contain the notary’s name, jurisdiction, and commission expiration date[v].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.04, a notary public is entitled to:
- administer all oaths required or authorized to be administered in the state of Minnesota;
- take and certify all depositions to be used in any of the courts of the state of Minnesota;
- to take and certify all acknowledgments of deeds, mortgages, liens, powers of attorney, and other instruments in writing; and
- to receive, make out, and record notarial protests.
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.05, a notary public doing any of the notarial act must immediately following the notary’s signature endorse the date of the expiration of the commission.
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.061, the commission of every notary must be recorded in the office of the court administrator of the district court of the notary’s county of residence in a record kept for that purpose. The commission of a nonresident notary must be recorded in the office of the court administrator of the district court of the Minnesota county that borders the county in which the nonresident notary resides. When requested, the court administrator certifies the official acts in the manner and for the fees prescribed by statute or court rule[vi].
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.08, a notary exercising the duties of office after the expiration of a term, or continuing after disqualified is guilty of misdemeanor.
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.085, notarial acts include: acknowledgments; verifications, witnessing or attesting signature; certifying and attesting documents; and making or noting protests of negotiable instruments. Moreover, notarial act includes the giving of satisfactory evidence that a person is the person whose true signature is on a document or electronic record. Satisfactory evidence is given when the person:
- is personally known to the notarial officer;
- is identified upon the oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known to the notarial officer; or
- is identified on the basis of identification documents.
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.085, a notary public is prohibited to acknowledge, witness, or attest to the officer’s own signature. Additionally, s/he is prohibited from taking a verification of the officer’s own oath or affirmation.
Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 359.12, a notary charging or receiving a fee for any act done as a notary greater than the amount allowed by law is liable for punishment. Additionally, a notarial act done dishonestly or unfaithfully is punishable. A notary pleading guilty; or convicted of a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, is subject to penalties. However, a notary can be removed from office only by the governor or the district court[vii].
[i] Minn. Stat. § 359.01.
[iv] Minn. Stat. § 359.02.
[v] Minn. Stat. § 359.03.
[vi] Minn. Stat. § 359.061.
[vii] Minn. Stat. § 359.12.