Many notaries ponder the question of if they should notarize a document for a minor. And if they do, how?
Completing notarial acts for a minor does not change any of the fundamentals of your job. Florida does not have a stated age limit for notarizing a document for a minor. Florida does state you should follow the same guidelines that you would for any other notarization.
Personal appearance is still required for a notarial act involving a minor. A parent cannot sign for the minor, and they cannot try to identify the minor for you. The minor must be physically present in front of you at the time of the act.
Proper identification of a minor is the area many notaries encounter a problem. You must still adhere to Florida law about the allowed forms of identification. If the minor does not possess any of them, credible witnesses can be used.
You can either have one credible witness who personally knows the notary and the minor or you can have two credible witnesses who are unknown to the notary, but personally know the minor and can provide sufficient proof of their identity to the notary public.
Establish understanding and freedom to sign
The notary public should still establish the minor can read and understand the contents of the document, as well as the repercussions of signing it. Since, Florida does not have an age limit for the age of a signer, it is up to the notary public’s discretion to determine when a minor comprehends what is happening. The notary should also be sure the signer is not being coerced into signing the document. Under no circumstances can the parent or legal guardian sign for the minor. If the parent is signing, then they are the named person on the notarial act and you will complete the notarial act for them, not the minor.
Following the same rules and procedure as you would for any other notarial act ensures you are not missing any steps, and that you will complete a valid notarization for the minor.
If you need to brush up on the type of identification considered valid or the proper steps to complete a notarial act, refer to your Florida Notary Handbook or call our customer service at 800-385-7019.