Friday favorites — To notarize, or not to notarize?


Do you really need that progress payment lien release notarized? It’s such a pain in the rear, isnt’ it? Isn’t a signature enough? After all, you don’t get your contracts notarized–well, not most of them.

This was the discussion around our water cooler the other day, initiated while some of our lawyers were re-writing a standard form subcontract for a client who does work in many states. Notarizing documents certainly seems like something from a bygone era–when there were horses, buggies, and buggy-whips. Maybe notaries will be like those notorious buggy-whip makers a century ago. After all, the federal government has long accepted un-notarized declarations in lieu of notarized affidavits. See 28 USC § 1746.

So why do we still need notaries? Because some people are liars. Or, more accurately, forgers. Check out this nightmare.
Sadly, one good reason to have your lien releases notarized is to provide a last check that the party who supposedly executed it doesn’t say their signature was forged. Forgery.jpgOf course, a forged lien release is a lot different than a forged performance bond–but they’re both likely to land someone in the pokey.

But the first answer to the question is much less interesting: Many states require notarized lien releases by statute. Of course, those can change too.