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What are the benefits of notarizing a contract?

Protecting your business is an important concern you have. Not taking the right steps to keep it safe could lead to claims against you or contract disputes that make you waste your time in court. So, what can you do to prevent yourself from running into contract disputes that end up costing you time and money?

Consider using a notary. Many businesses have a notary on staff, but if you don't, you can go to any courthouse or Bureau of Motor Vehicles in your area to have a notary witness and stamp your documents. Any attorney should be able to notarize your documents, too, but make sure you verify this.

When you sign a document, you want those signatures to be legal and binding. An official witness is one of the only ways to do this, combined with the notary public's stamp and signature on the document. A notary public has a commission from the local government or state that allows him or her to witness and verify documents; the notary is meant to verify that the person is who he or she says he or she is and is not under duress when signing the document. By law, there are only a few kinds of documents that have to be notarized. Real estate deeds, for instance, need to have notarized signatures.

If you don't have a notarized document and end up in court over a contract dispute, the other party may argue that he or she hasn't signed the document. If so, it will be up to you to prove that they did and that the signature is valid.

Source: Entrepreneur, "Avoiding Contract Disputes," Chris Kelleher, accessed June 09, 2015

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