Notary public at used car dealership

Michael646

New Member
Jurisdiction
Maryland
Is it unethical for the owner of a used car dealership, who holds a notary commission, to notarize the vehicles he purchases or sells?
 
Is it unethical for the owner of a used car dealership, who holds a notary commission, to notarize the vehicles he purchases or sells?
It would be improper for the owner to notarize his own signature.
It may be improper for the owner to notarize the signatures of employees of his company in the situation you describe.
 
Is it unethical for the owner of a used car dealership, who holds a notary commission, to notarize the vehicles he purchases or sells?


Can you notarize your own document?
No, a notary cannot notarize their own documents.

In all 50 states, notaries are explicitly prohibited from notarizing their own documents or documents in which they are named as a party within the transaction.

Why notaries cannot notarize their own documents?
There are several serious reasons why a notary cannot in good faith notarize their own documents, including the following.

Notaries cannot notarize their own documents because notaries are required by law to serve as independent and impartial witnesses to a signing. If the notary has any connection to the document they are signing, it is impossible for them to remain an objective third party witnessing the signing.






https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc5300/sc5339/000113/023300/023322/20180459e.pdf


If you are a notary yourself, It's normal for you to have questions like; What if I buy a property? Can I notarize my own signature?

Well, It's a tricky question. Isn't it?

However, the answer is simple, and that is NO!
You must be in a dilemma if you have a legal license to notarize the documents as a notary. Then how come you cannot notarize your own documents.


Can you notarize your own documents? - PandaDoc Notary

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It would be improper for the owner to notarize his own signature.
It may be improper for the owner to notarize the signatures of employees of his company in the situation you describe.
Thank you for the information. In this situation, the owner would not be notarizing his own signature; just the signature of the sellers to his dealership in facilitating title transfer to the new owner, which would not be him.

If his signature is not involved in the document, meaning it's the dealership escrowing the vehicle to a new customer, would him acting as a notary be unethical?
 
Thank you for the information. In this situation, the owner would not be notarizing his own signature; just the signature of the sellers to his dealership in facilitating title transfer to the new owner, which would not be him.
I could argue that the owner would have a direct beneficial interest in such a notarization, thus preventing him from (legally) notarizing the document, but I can also see the other side of the coin. It is, at best, a grey area.

Let me ask you this, and don't get defensive: Why does it matter to you?

If you really feel the need to address this matter, you can file a report with the state, although, you will likely never find out the outcome of such a complaint: https://sos.maryland.gov/Notary/Pages/Concern-Notary.aspx
 
I could argue that the owner would have a direct beneficial interest in such a notarization, thus preventing him from (legally) notarizing the document, but I can also see the other side of the coin. It is, at best, a grey area.

Let me ask you this, and don't get defensive: Why does it matter to you?

If you really feel the need to address this matter, you can file a report with the state, although, you will likely never find out the outcome of such a complaint: https://sos.maryland.gov/Notary/Pages/Concern-Notary.aspx
I am the owner. I know many dealerships have a notary on staff, I just don't know their precise circumstance. For example, that notary is paid by the dealer yet they can notarize for it's customers. I just want to ensure that if I notarize a document where I am not named on the title or transaction, if I would be liable. Thank you
 
I am the owner. I know many dealerships have a notary on staff, I just don't know their precise circumstance. For example, that notary is paid by the dealer yet they can notarize for it's customers. I just want to ensure that if I notarize a document where I am not named on the title or transaction, if I would be liable. Thank you
I am a Notary, but in California, not Maryland. I can tell you that, in my state, employees could notarize signatures in the circumstances that you describe. As the owner, it could be more problematic. I suggest that you contact the folks where you took your classes (assuming you took classes) and ask them. You could also review the Maryland Notary Handbook. I would, but, unlike my state, you have to pay for a copy in MD.
 
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