Even the most meticulously by-the-book business people sometimes find themselves embroiled in some type of contract dispute, and if you have ever found yourself in such a situation, you probably understand how expensive and time-consuming it can be. Arguably the easiest method of avoiding contract disputes is a preemptive one, and it involves making sure every important contract, agreement or document is witnessed and signed by a notary public.
Though not all documents require the signature of a notary, or a person who has been granted the authority to witness and acknowledge the signature of another on a document, some, such as real estate deeds, do. Even if your agreement or document does not legally require a notary’s signature, you may be able to save yourself a lot of time and money by getting one anyway.
Two reasons calling on a notary is wise
It can be tempting to avoid taking the extra step of hiring a notary, both because of the extra expense (though it is not typically much) and because of the effort and time it takes to find and meet with one. Resist the temptation, though. Even if someone signs a contract right under your nose, he or she can deny doing so later, and if you do not have a notary who witnessed the signage, you are looking at a case of he-said, she-said. It can prove exceedingly difficult to prove someone signed something if they deny it, so the notary can end up saving you valuable time and money, should such a situation arise. Federal courts automatically recognize documents and contracts that are signed and witnessed by a notary public, and many states, including Florida, do, as well.
Another reason it is smart to have a notary witness the signing of your business contracts to avoid contract disputes is because the state of Florida requires its notaries to purchase what is known as a notary bond. The bond works like insurance in that it protects you in the event that the notary failed to follow proper procedures. For example, maybe the notary failed to actually witness the document signing, or perhaps he or she failed to confirm the identity of a person signing the contract.
Taking the time to have a notary witness and acknowledge the signing of important contracts and documents can save you considerable time, money and stress in the long run. For more about how to avoid contract disputes, consider speaking with an attorney.