What Hawaii Documents Must Be Notarized?

We’re often asked what type of documents must be notarized in Hawaii.

  • Almost all documents that individuals would normally record in the Bureau of Conveyances (Regular System and Land Court System) must be notarized. For example, deeds, mortgages, encroachment agreements, agreement for sale, etc. Certified documents such as court judgments and original death certificates do not need to be notarized as they are already verified.
  • Affidavits which are sworn statements. Affidavits are required by governmental agencies such as the Land Court Judiciary for Land Court Petitions to Note Death, Divorce, Name-Change, Corporate Merger.
  • Ones which are so important that they need a third party to verify the signatory such as Power of Attorney.

The above are all documents that those that a third party require you sign in front of a Hawaii notary public.

As for the rest of the documents people sign in Hawaii such as rental agreements, construction contracts, commercial leases or asset purchase agreements, signing in front of a Hawaii notary is not required because it is not needed to make that contract binding.

When Notarizing Isn’t Required, but It’s Smart to Do So

However, there are times that you would want a document notarized and so you can require it, especially if you feel that the other party is untrustworthy and will deny signing the document. We have had to hire a handwriting expert in the past when that became an issue. You could easily avoid that problem by adding a notary acknowledgment to that document (such as a promissory note or a personal guaranty).

A common misunderstanding occurs when people find stock owned by a deceased relative and try to re-register the stock certificate. People think that a notary acknowledgment is required, but in actuality what is required is a “medallion signature guarantee”.

A medallion signature guarantee is a guarantee by the transferring financial institution that the signature is genuine and the financial institution accepts liability for any forgery. As a result, most Hawaii financial institutions only will provide that service to its own customers.

Contact us today about your Hawaii business and corporate legal issues. We have the expertise you need.

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