Notary Public & Records FAQs
Houston Notary and Record Retrieval Services:
- Q. What Houston Mobile Notary
services do you provide in relation to Record Retrieval?
A. For record retrieval
companies, Houston On-Call is a primary mobile
notary source for Business Subpoenas, Affidavits,
Direct Questions, and retrieval of most Medical Records.
- Q. What other Record Retrieval
services do you
A. Local courier, mail, and
overnight drop services of desired records are also provided.
- Q. How far will you travel outside
A. Notary, Record
Retrieval , and Courier Services
have been fulfilled as far as Beaumont.
- Q. How much of a notice is desired
A. For "basic"
Mobile Notary services, most appointments are set, then fulfilled in
For "hourly" situations,
a one day notice is requested (regarding new customers).
- Q. Hourly Rates for Houston On-Call
A. Hourly Notary Rates
vary depending on circumstances. Please call with
- Q. Certified Copies?
The document must be an original (not a photocopy -- or
from another certified copy).
A Notary Public must also make the copies, or supervise
the photocopying process.
A Notary Public should Not make certified copies
of "Recorded" or "Filed" documents:
Marriage/Divorce Records, Student Transcripts,
Driver's Licenses, Probated
Wills, Photographs, Powers of Attorney, Foreign
Certificates of Incorporation or Naturalization, or Real Estate
Deeds and Mortgages.
Also note/visit this link in
relation to I-9
A Notary Public Can make certified copies of many
other types of documents:
Business transactions, Personal
letters, Social Security Cards, Living Wills, Contracts,
Medical Treatment Consent forms,
Lease Agreements, and Invoices.
Houston Subpoena Services:
- Q. Subpoena of Witness?
A. A witness needed to
prove an instrument but who refuses to appear can be
subpoenaed. Texas notaries have the same authority
as a district judge to issue a subpoena to compel a
witness to appear before the notary to testify about the
execution of the instrument.
- Q. Services Offered?
A. Houston On-Call mainly serves state subpoenas
in relation to medical/business records.
- Q. Process Serving?
Houston On-Call is not a process service.
Please see last question (above).
Houston Notary On-Call Office:
- Q. Do you receive many calls
from customers wanting to just come to the office?
A. Yes. However, the
main purpose is to provide Mobile Notary Services for
Houston and related areas. As a result, walk-in
customers are not accepted. Please visit the Links page.
Houston Notary and Courier Services:
- Q. Aside from Notary services,
what courier services do you provide?
A. Courier and mailing
are focused within the
Houston Mobile Notary aspect -- whether records
or documents need mailing, Houston area transport,
or dropping as overnight returns.
While "courier-only" services are offered,
at present, this is usually for current customers who
also have various notary needs, intermittently.
- Q. Are business and residential
Individual and business accounts are welcomed, depending
- Q. Do you offer discounts on
Houston Notary services?
When combined with courier services, most single pages
have a $6.00 State Notary fee, plus a declining mobile
charge -- depending on the volume of related calls.
- Q. What are your billing methods?
A. Most services are due
upon receipt/fulfillment. An invoicing
system can also be set per call, weekly, or bi-weekly
-- again, depending on the volume of the account.
Houston Notary Public and Record Retrieval Services FAQ:
- Q. How long is the term of Notary
A. A Notary commission is
a four-year term of office. The term begins on the
date the Secretary
of State issues the commission.
- Q. What are the powers and duties
of a Notary Public?
A. The primary duties of
a Notary Public are to prevent fraud by
confirming that the signer’s identity is who he
or she claims to be, and that the person, in the presence
of the notary,
has voluntarily signed a document on a given date.
A Notary Public has the authority to take acknowledgments,
protest instruments, administer oaths, take depositions,
and certify copies of documents not recordable in the
- Q. May a Notary notarize without
the person being present?
a Notary take acknowledgments over the phone?
A. No. A Notary Public
may only perform notarial acts by requiring a personal
appearance. The document signer must always appear before
the Notary for the notarization. Remember that the
primary function of a Notary Public is to prevent fraud.
Notaries do this by requiring the personal physical presence
of the signer and making a positive identification of
the signer. Often, forgeries occur because the notary
fails to require the document signer to be present for
- Q. Must the document be signed
in the presence of the Notary?
- Q. Can a Notary prepare legal
A. No. A Notary who
is not a lawyer does not have this authority. All
documents presented to notarize should have the correct
form of notary certificate already on them. As a
Notary, the duty is to perform the notarial act and complete
the notarial certificate.
- Q. If a person needs advice
in drafting a document, can a Notary help?
A. No. A Notary Public
may not prepare, select, or give advice concerning
- Q. Can a Notary notarize
a document that is not completely filled out?
A. Yes. However, it’s
the Notary Public's responsibility to mark through all
spaces that are not filled out to prevent fraud and possible
lawsuits. It’s not the Notary Public's responsibility
to check that the form is properly filled out.
Additionally, notaries are prohibited from filling
out documents for customers.
- Q. May a Notary determine
which type of Notarial Certificate should be attached?
A. No. A Notary Public
who is not an attorney should only complete a notarial
certificate which is already on the document or type a
certificate of the maker's choosing. If a Notary
Public is brought a document without a certificate and
decides which certificate to attach, that Notary Public
would be "practicing law." However, a
Notary Public is provided copies of sample notarial certificates
with his or her notary commission. The person for
whom the notarization is performed may choose the certificate,
and the Notary may add such certificate to the document.
- Q. Why can't your Houston
Notary service make certified copies of Birth/Death Certificates,
or Marriage Licenses?
A. Because these are recordable
documents, a certified copy can only be issued by the
governmental agency which is custodian of these records.
However, a Notary Public has the authority to certify
copies of documents not recordable in the public records.
- Q. May a Notary perform notarial
acts in other counties?
A. Yes. A Notary Public
has statewide jurisdiction and may perform notarial acts
in any county in the state of Texas.
- Q. May a Notary notarize
documents in other states?
A. A Texas Notary Public
has jurisdiction ONLY in Texas. Texas notaries may
only perform notarial acts within the geographical
boundaries of this state. Other states have
their own notary laws regarding their Notaries.
- Q. May a Texas Notary notarize
documents from other states?
A. Documents that originate
in other states may be notarized by a Texas Notary if
the notarial act is performed in Texas.
- Q. What is a Signing Agent?
A. A commissioned Notary
Public who has become skilled, through experience and/or
education in the facilitation of the signing portion of
the mortgage loan closing process.
- Q. What is a Closing Agent?
A. The person, usually from
a title or escrow company, who is coordinating the assembly
of the documents, disbursement of funds, and other duties
associated with closing a loan. Although the closing agent
may also be a Notary, he or she will often locate a suitable
signing agent. Even though that time when everyone
is sitting down to sign papers is often referred to as
a "closing," this signing is really only a portion
of the closing process.
- Q. Can your Houston Notary service
A. No. Written
requests must me made to the appropriate office of
the Secretary of State.
- Q. May a Notary refuse to
A. Only if the Notary is
uncertain of a signer's identity, willingness or general
competence, or has a good reason to suspect fraud.
Notaries should not refuse to serve anyone because of
race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the
person is not a client or customer.
However, there are circumstances where a Notary Public
can, or must, refuse service:
- The signer asks for legal advice prior to executing
- The Notary suspects the signer is being pressured,
coerced, or threatened by another person to execute
the documents being signed.
- The signer requests notary services before or after
- The prospective
customer is unreasonable.
- A Notary should not notarize if the signer appears
to be mentally incapable of understanding the nature and
effect of the document at the time the transaction takes
- A Notary should not take the acknowledgment of a person
who does not speak or understand the English language
on a document written in English, unless the nature and
effect of the document to be notarized is translated into
a language that the signer does understand.
- A Notary must not certify the accuracy of a translation.
Instead, the notary may notarize an affidavit from an
unbiased translator certifying the accuracy of the translation.
- A Notary must not certify the authenticity of objects
such as art, coins, or collectibles.
- A Notary must never certify residency or citizenship.
Certification should be made either by the resident or
by an official at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Signing a Document For Individual With Disability
A Notary may sign the name of an individual who is physically
unable to sign or make a mark on a document presented
for notarization if directed to do so by that individual,
in the presence of a witness who has no legal or
equitable interest in any real or personal property that
is the subject of, or is affected by, the document being
signed. In this section, "disability"
means a physical impairment that impedes the ability
to sign or mark on a document.
- Identification Cards:
According to Texas law, an acceptable identification
card for notarization purposes would include a U.S.
passport, driver's license, or any
card issued by a state or federal government agency
that contains the photograph and signature of the person
making the acknowledgement or taking the oath. The
card must not be expired.