DEFINITION of 'Notarize'

The act of officially certifying a legal document by a notary public. The purpose of having a legal document notarized is to ensure the authenticity of the signatures that appear on the document. Once notarized, a document will have much more legal credibility and will stand up much better in court if it is ever challenged.

BREAKING DOWN 'Notarize'

It is a common practice to notarize legal documents that deal with serious matters or that are intended to represent transactions of substantial monetary value. Deeds prepared in the course of real estate transactions are commonly notarized so that both parties have an added level of security that the transaction will hold up if ever legally challenged, or if one party attempts to escape the terms of the transaction at a later date.

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