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Lake County, Ohio - Common Pleas Court General Division

Notary Public

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     NOTARY PUBLIC

    A notary commission is not to be confused with a license to practice law. In fact, a notary public is specifically prohibited from practicing law, unless, of course, the notary public is an attorney. Attorneys at law, once commissioned, are notaries as long as they are in good standing with the Ohio Supreme Court and have a residence or primary practice in Ohio.

    Application for appointment as a notary public may be made at the office of the Lake County Bar Association, located in the Lake County Courthouse. You may call the Bar Association at (440) 350-5800, (440) 918-2180, or (440) 350-2180, for hours and fees, or (440) 350-2639 for recorded information.  The LCBA website is: http://www.lcba-ohio.org/.  Applicants must be and remain a REGISTERED VOTER and a RESIDENT of LAKE COUNTY to apply for and be appointed a notary public in Lake County. However, a notary public, once appointed, has authority on a statewide basis.

    Rule VII.G., of the Rules of Practice of the Lake County Common Pleas Court, provides:

    "Every person desiring to secure from a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas a certificate as to his or her qualifications and ability to discharge the duties of the office of Notary Public shall take an examination to be conducted by a committee of six members of the Bar appointed by the Presiding Judge, unless otherwise examined by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in their discretion. The members of such committee shall be appointed to serve a period of one year or until a successor is appointed. Said examination may be oral or written as said committee shall determine, and be conducted on the first Saturday of each month and such other times as the committee may determine. One or more of the committee may act on behalf of the committee, as it shall determine and subject to Court approval. Within ten days after the examination, the committee shall report in writing to the Court as to whether or not the applicant possesses the qualifications to discharge the duties of the office of Notary Public. Said committee may make a reasonable charge to defray costs and expenses of giving the examination, subject to approval of the Court."

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    How Does One Qualify for Appointment as Notary Public; How Can One’s Appointment be Revoked (See R.C. §147.01)?

    In order for a person to qualify to be appointed and commissioned as a notary public, the person must have attained the age of eighteen years and be a citizen of the state of Ohio. A notary public shall be appointed and commissioned as a notary public for the state. The secretary of state may revoke a commission issued to a notary public upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of official misconduct or incapacity.

    What is the Certificate of Qualifications (See R.C. §147.02)?

    Before the appointment of a notary public is made, the applicant shall produce to the secretary of state a certificate from a judge or justice of the court of common pleas, court of appeals, or supreme court that contains a statement that the applicant is of good moral character or has passed an examination under any rules that the judge or justice may prescribe, and is a citizen of the county in which the applicant resides.

    What is the Term and Oath of Office; What Happens Upon Removal (See R.C. §147.03)?

    Each notary public, except an attorney admitted to the practice of law in this state by the Ohio Supreme Court, shall hold office for the term of five years unless the commission is revoked. An attorney admitted to the practice of law in this state by the Ohio Supreme Court shall hold office as a notary public as long as the attorney is a resident of this state or has the attorney's principal place of business or primary practice in this state, the attorney is in good standing before the Ohio Supreme Court, and the commission is not revoked. Before entering upon the duties of office, a notary public shall take and subscribe an oath to be endorsed on the notary public's commission.

    A notary public who violates the oath of office required by this section shall be removed from office by the court of common pleas of the county in which the notary public resides, upon complaint filed and substantiated in the court, and the court, upon removing a notary public from office, shall certify the removal to the secretary of state. The person so removed shall be ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public.

    What Type of Seal and Register are Required (See R.C. §147.04)?

    Before entering upon the discharge of his duties, a notary public shall provide himself with the seal of a notary public. The seal shall consist of the coat of arms of the state within a circle one inch in diameter and shall be surrounded by the words "notary public," "notarial seal," or words to that effect, the name of the notary public and the words "State of Ohio." The seal may be of either a type that will stamp ink onto a document or one that will emboss it. The name of the notary public may, instead of appearing on the seal, be printed, typewritten, or stamped in legible, printed letters near his signature on each document signed by him. A notary public shall also provide himself with an official register in which shall be recorded a copy of every certificate of protest and copy of note, which seal and record shall be exempt from execution. Upon the death, expiration of term without reappointment, or removal from office of any notary public, his official register shall be deposited in the office of the county recorder of the county in which he resides.

    Where is the Commission Recorded; Is there a Fee (See R.C. §147.05)?

    Before entering upon the duties of the office of notary public, a notary public shall leave the notary public's commission with the oath endorsed on the commission with the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which the notary public resides. The clerk shall record the commission in a book kept for that purpose. The clerk shall endorse on the margin of the record and on the back of the commission the time that the clerk received the commission for record and make a proper index to all commissions so recorded. For recording and indexing a commission, the fee of the clerk shall be as provided in section 2303.20 of the Revised Code.

    The secretary of state shall maintain a record of the commissions of each notary public appointed and commissioned by the secretary of state under this chapter and make a proper index to that record.  The governor's office shall transfer to the secretary of state's office the record of notaries public formerly kept by the governor's office.  The secretary of state's office shall maintain that record together with the record and index of commissions of notaries public.

    What are the Powers and Jurisdiction of a Notary Public (See R.C. §147.07)?

    A notary public may, throughout the state, administer oaths required or authorized by law, take and certify depositions, take and certify acknowledgments of deeds, mortgages, liens, powers of attorney, and other instruments of writing, and receive, make, and record notarial protests. In taking depositions, he shall have the power that is by law vested in judges of county courts to compel the attendance of witnesses and punish them for refusing to testify. Sheriffs and constables are required to serve and return all process issued by notaries public in the taking of depositions.

    What Fees can a Notary Public Charge (See R.C. §147.08)?

    A notary public is entitled to the following fees:

    For the protest of a bill of exchange or promissory note, one dollar and actual necessary expenses in going beyond the corporate limits of a municipal corporation to make presentment or demand;

    For recording an instrument required to be recorded by a notary public, ten cents for each one hundred words;

    For taking and certifying acknowledgments of deeds, mortgages, liens, powers of attorney, and other instruments of writing, and for taking and certifying depositions, administering oaths, and other official services, the same fees as are allowed by section 2319.27 of the Revised Code or by law to clerks of the courts of common pleas for like services;

    For taking and certifying an affidavit, one dollar and fifty cents.

    What Happens After the Notary Commission Expires (See R.C. §147.10)?

    No notary public shall do or perform any act as a notary public knowing that his term of office has expired.

    Under What Circumstances Does a Notary Public Forfeit Money (See R.C. §147.11)?

    A person appointed notary public who performs any act as such after the expiration of his term of office, knowing that his term has expired, shall forfeit not more than five hundred dollars, to be recovered by an action in the name of the state. Such act shall render such person ineligible for reappointment.

    Can a Notary Public Be Removed for Receiving Excessive Fees (See R.C. §147.13)?

    A notary public who charges or receives for an act or service done or rendered by the notary public a fee greater than the amount prescribed by law, or who dishonestly or unfaithfully discharges any official duties as notary public, shall be removed from office by the court of common pleas of the county in which the notary public resides, upon complaint filed and substantiated in the court. The court shall certify the removal to the secretary of state. The person so removed shall be ineligible for reappointment to the office of notary public.

    Can a Notary Public Be Removed from Office for Certifying an Affidavit Without Administering Oath (See R.C. §147.14)?

    No notary public shall certify to the affidavit of a person without administering the appropriate oath or affirmation to the person. A notary public who violates this section shall be removed from office by the court of common pleas of the county in which a conviction for a violation of this section is had. The court shall certify the removal to the secretary of state. The person so removed shall be ineligible to reappointment for a period of three years.

    What are the Contents of an Acknowledgment (See R.C. §147.53)?

    The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument and the person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment, or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument.

    What Other Penalties Can Be Levied Against a Notary Public (See R.C. §147.99)?

    Whoever does any act as a notary public knowing that his term of office has expired shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars. Whoever certifies to the affidavit of a person without administering the appropriate oath or affirmation to the person shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.


    A Notary Public is a public officer, appointed under authority of state law, with power to attest to the genuineness of any deeds or writings, in order to render them available as evidence of the facts they contain. In Ohio, the office is created by statute. The Ohio Constitution and state law provide that no person may be appointed to public office in Ohio unless he or she is a citizen of Ohio, eighteen years of age or over, and qualified to vote at every election in the county in which he or she resides. "Qualified to vote" refers to being properly registered to vote in the precinct where the citizen resides.